Beyond the Light [Além da Luz] 2010
Distributed by Goulart Filmes
Produced by Yves Goulart
Directed by Yves Goulart
DVD , color, 82 min.
Health Sciences, Sociology
Date Entered: 02/14/2014Reviewed by Kay Hogan Smith, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences
It is no secret that people with disabilities have to “slay two tigers a day” instead of just one, in the words of one subject of this award-winning Brazilian documentary on blind people in current society. Beyond navigating our complex, high tech world, people with visual disabilities must also fight to continue to believe in themselves where others would automatically doubt their potential to contribute because of their disability. Perhaps it is especially so in Brazil, with its noted “culture of the body,” although one subject who emigrates to New York finds that environment no less challenging. There have been many technological advances since Louis Braille (whose history is also reviewed in the film), created his system of tactile reading in the 19th century. However, it is society that still must advance beyond its prejudices to allow equal opportunities for “jobs with respect” – that simple human need to feel useful – to people of varying abilities and disabilities. Certainly, the subjects of the film are living proof in themselves of the value of looking beyond the disability to the human individual. There are professors, musicians, and businessmen included, among others. They have rich social lives, spouses, children and friends. They also exhibit keen intelligence, insight and humor, as in the case of one man who laughed about saying “Good day” to a garbage can. In summary, Beyond the Light promotes a message of hope, humanity and understanding.
The film, which is in Portuguese, is available in various language narrations and subtitles, and allows for audio narration of the action for visually impaired viewers. It is highly recommended for any collection of materials on blindness and other disabilities.