Saturday Morning Documentary: Sound and Fury

29 07 2011

“If you could make your deaf children hear, would you do it?”  That’s the tagline and the question posed in the 2000 documentary Sound and Fury.  Though the choice may seem clear at first, the film explores the complex questions that also arise when deaf children have the opportunity for cochlear implants that would allow them to hear like regular hearing kids.  Two sets of parents who both have kids are both contemplating the implants– one thinking yes and the other on the fence– and debates and arguments ensue.

“If your child was blind, wouldn’t you want them to see?” asks the mother who is for the surgery, and it’s a convincing argument.  She argues that it would be a setback for her child if he were to be deaf, that he would be missing out on so much in the world like music, the sound of rain; other aspects of life, like finding a job, would also be a lot harder, she says.  On the other hand, the mother who is investigating both sides of the situation says that by giving her child an implant, they would be missing out on deaf culture and may not learn and use sign with other deaf people, and that the deaf world and culture may be wiped out completely if all deaf people were given implants.  “I’m proud to be deaf,” says her husband, and you see from the way he signs that he really means it.

I don’t think I’ve seen a documentary on deafness before but this was really insightful.  It did seem a little outdated with the choice of music and the way it was shot but the film was pretty interesting nonetheless.  A provocative film about a sense that most people take for granted.