Enabling the Auteurial Voice in "Dance Me to My Song"
Starrs, D. Bruno (2008) Enabling the Auteurial Voice in "Dance Me to My Song". M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 11(3).
This paper reveals that while the feature film "Dance me To My Song" is listed in Rolf de Heer's oeuvre, its primary author is Heather Rose Slattery, a woman with cerebral palsy who wrote, co-directed and played Julia, the lead character. I assert that in the film Julia is not held up as an object of pity, rather is a fully embodied character, thus defying the "normality drama" (Darke 1998) of disability which aims to "reinforce the able-bodied audience's self image of normality and the notion of the disabled as the inferior Other". Director de Heer seems to be giving credit for authorship where credit is due, for as a result of Rose's tenacity and agency this film is, in two ways, her creative success. Firstly, it is a rare exception to the "normality drama" because in the film's diegesis, Julia is shown triumphing not simply over the limitations of her disability, but over her able-bodied rival in love as well: she 'dances' better than her carer, the 'normal' Madelaine. Secondly, in her gaining possession of the primary credits, and the mantle of the film's primary author, Rose is shown triumphing over other aspiring able-bodied film-makers in the notoriously competitive film-making industry. As with de Heer's other films in which marginalised peoples are given voice, he demonstrates a desire not to subjugate the Other, but to validate and empower him/her.
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