SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! Sometimes, being a person with a disability, it is easy to think that is all people see of you. Once I depart this mortal coil, I want to set something up: I want to charge people $500 each time they mention my disability at my funeral, and that money would go to a good cause. I have been called inspiring and heroic so many times that I don’t know if those words carry any real meaning to me anymore.
Jacob Reed’s Full Picture features actress, comedian, and activist Santina Muha as she undertakes a social experience. Muha uses a wheelchair, but in pandemic life, it is not as noticeable as she engages in Zoom chats with others. The experiment begins by having the actress talk with strangers without indicating or mentioning her wheelchair or disability. The participants then speak about their opinions of her, giving her compliments that Muha can genuinely accept as they are not marked with ableist praise.
“…Muha’s wheelchair usage is disclosed, and participants share their opinions about it…”
Next, Muha’s wheelchair usage is disclosed, and participants share their opinions about it, and then Santina Muha and the participants debrief their experiences. All in all, it is an informative and fun experiment, with a variety of participants from all walks of life (the children seem the most empathetic, but there is a surprise in store for her as well).
Having a disability means that the disability can take precedence over other aspects of your identity. You are often left wondering if people see you for who you really are. Sometimes, there is no easy way to know, and other people’s attitudes and behaviours towards people with disabilities can be more disabling than the actual biological roots of the disability. This film handily showcases the identity crises many people with disabilities face and the toll it can take on one’s life to manage the various identities we all have.
Full Picture screened at the 2021 Slamdance Film Review.
"…disability can take precedence over other aspects of your identity."