UC Berkeley Library

Physical Disabilities & Dysfunctions in Film

A Bit of Luck (Tipat mazal) (Israel, 1992)

Directed by Ze'ev Revach. Cast: Ya'ackov Ben-Sira, Zehava Ben, Jacques Cohen, Chen Gueta, Yossi Keinan. Tells the story of a blind father and his singer daughter immigrating together to Israel. 90 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

A Patch of Blue (1965)

Directed by Guy Green. Cast: Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman, Wallace Ford. Accidentally blinded as a child, 18-year-old Selina D'Arcey falls in love with a gentle and charming man, Gordon Ralfe, whom she meets in a rare visit to a park. Her racist mother declares that because Gordon is black, their relationship cannot continue, forcing Selina to choose between her family and her heart. Based on "Be ready with bells and drums" by Elizabeth Kata. 105 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

A Woman's Face (1941)

Directed by George Cukor. Cast: Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Conrad Veidt, Osa Massen, Reginald Owen, Albert Basserman, Marjorie Main, Donald Meek. Anna Holm, a professional blackmailer, despises herself and the world because of a disfiguring facial scar. When a plastic surgeon performs miraculous surgery and restores her beauty, she has a chance to start anew but her soul remains scarred and she finds herself torn between her destructive past and a desire for a new life.

Aaltra: A Road Movie (2004)

Directed by Gustave de Kervern and Benoit Delepine. Cast: Benoit Delepine, Gustave Kervern, Jan Bucquoy, Pierre Carl, Michel de Houx, Isabelle Delepine, Jason Flemying, Noel Godin, Christine Grulois, Aki Kauresmaki, Bouli Lanners, Vincent Patar, Benoit Poelvoorde, Chrisophe Salengro, Vincent Tavier. In this hilarious comedy two rural neighbors who hate each other, end up paralyzed after they get tangled in a tractor during a fight. Full of spite they decide to roll across Europe to exact revenge from the tractor's manufacturer. 90 min.

Assisted Living (2002)

Directed by Elliot Greenebaum. Cast: Michael Bonsignore, Maggie Wise Riley, Gail Benedict, Nanci Jo Boone, Clint Vaught, Jose Albovias, Elsie Albright, Malorie Boone. Todd is a pot-smoking janitor at a nursing home who takes pleasure in toying with the senile residents. But when one of the residents mistakes him for her son, he finds himself becoming emotionally attached to his work for the first time.

Be With Me (Singapore, 2005)

Directed by Eric Khoo. Cast: Theresa Chan, Ezanne Lee, Samantha Tan, Seet Keng Yew, Chiew Sung Ching, Lawrence Yong, Lynn Poh. A tapestry of stories woven around the themes of love, hope and destiny. The characters lead separate lives but are bound by one common desire - to be with their loved one. The protagonists in the movie are fictitious bar one - Theresa Chan, a courageous deaf and blind woman whose life story inspired the film. 93 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Better or Worse? (UK, 2000)

Directed by Jocelyn Cammack. Cast: Finn Atkins, John Langford, Ann Farrar, Luke Gell, Keiran Francis. Eight-year-old Rachel embarks upon a series of experiments attempting to make sense of her defective eyesight. The film contrasts ideas of perspective, both real and imagined, through the recurring motif of a diving board -- limiting and precarious. 9 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Bigger Than Life (1956)

Directed by Nicholas Ray. Cast: James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau. Schoolteacher Ed Avery, who's been suffering bouts of severe pain and even blackouts, is hospitalized with what's diagnosed as a rare inflammation of the arteries. Told by doctors that he probably has only months to live, Ed agrees to an experimental treatment: doses of the hormone cortisone. Ed makes a remarkable recovery, and returns but he must keep taking cortisone tablets regularly to prevent a recurrence of his illness.

Blind Man's Bluff (A Caixa) (Portugal / France, 1994)

Directed by Manoel de Oliveira. Cast: Luis Miguel Cintra, Glicinia Quartin, Ruy de Carvalho, Beatriz Batarda, Diogo Dria. Everyday an old blind man sits in a doorway begging for money, while his daughter spends her days ironing and complaining. Their neighborhood is not wealthy, and many a passerby is envious of the old beggar's box of accumulating coins. It has been stolen before so the man and the daughter's boyfriend keep an eye on it, but eventually tragedy ensues when the box disappears again. 92 min.

Breaking the Waves (Denmark / Sweden / France / Netherlands / Norway / Iceland, 1996)

Directed by Lars von Trier. Cast: Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgard, Katrin Cartlidge, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier. Bess, a pious young Scottish woman, prays to God to send her husband, Jan, home from his job on an offshore oil rig. When an accident sends him home paralyzed, she's filled with guilt and submits to his wish that she take on other lovers, convinced that this will aid in his recovery. 152 min.

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