3rd International Conference

Digital Culture & AudioVisual Challenges

Interdisciplinary Creativity in Arts and Technology

Online, May 28-29, 2021

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Representations of People with Disabilities in Greek Cinema
Date and Time: 29/05/2021 (10:45-12:30)
Maria Papadopoulou

From its very beginning, cinema often opted for a character with special needs to use as the main hero of the story to be told (or as a hero of a sub plot). That is, a person with special educational needs, physical disabilities or mental instability. The aim of this paper is to present a historical review of those films, mainly those of greek cinema, with some references to the american one's. After thorough observation, it becomes understandable that disability is presented in various forms and shapes in film, mirroring various social changes of the given era and social behaviors. Representations in cinema cause social representations and vice versa, a dynamic representation that has been fed by both sides. Additionally, cinema and mainly Hollywood, has created a wide range of movies exploring a wide range of mental diseases and physical disabilities often displaying technological solutions that had not been or have not yet been implemented (transplants, prosthetic members, avatars). That said, in many cases film-making has been known to instill in those disabled characters a nature of criminality and or outcasts. Which unavoidably poses the question of whether cinema actually reflects society, its wishes and beliefs or whether society tends to borrow (human) attitudes and behaviors from it.
For all intents and purposes of the research study, a series of greek films were studied. The films were released from 1940 to 1980. In these films the main characters with a certain disability were identified and studied. The mapping of these characters is a first attempt to study the representations of these individuals in films. It should be noted that the state of disability refers to any condition that does not allow the person to function in the light of normality. The result of the research is the creation of a classification of these special characters and representations of physical and mental health.


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