5:56 PM Tuna RunguWhether you be man or women, rich or poor, hearing or deaf, something we all like to do is go see a movies. Movies are a great way to broaden or horizons. It doesn’t matter if a movie is an action, drama, comedy, documentary, horror, or foreign, they are still fun to watch. But how many actors are deaf. How many movies talk about deafness? How do deaf people watch a movie in a theater if they can not hear the words? What technologies are advancing for the aid of deaf people? Is there a conflict between hearing people and deaf people at the movie theaters? Movies and deafness have been around for awhile and both are integrating with each other. We will examine the many aspects of deafness and movies.
There are very few famous deaf actors. This is due to the difficulty of a deaf person’s ability to play different roles, especially talking ones. However, that doesn’t mean there is not any. Marlene Martin is a famous actress who played in a movie titled “Children of a Lesser God”. Martin is “One of a chosen few to win a Best Acting Oscar for a debut performance” (IMDB). If you would like to check out some movies about deaf people performed by some deaf actors, look in the right column for a synopsis of for movies.
It is hard for deaf people to watch a movie in theaters, even if the movie is about deafness. Very few theaters provide cc, closed-captioned, for their movies. Even most foreign films are dubbed, instead of subtitled. Thanks to the ADA, American Disabilities Act, more theaters provide cc. While it is not much “special showings, movies feature open captioning, similar to subtitles, for deaf audiences. New technologies such as WGBH's "Rear-Window Captioning System" are being developed that allow deaf patrons to use special viewing panels to read captions during regular movie showings. Most recent movies released on videotape include closed captioning for the deaf” (PBS).
Even though all movies can be cc, there is a conflict between deaf people and hearing people. Most hearing people do not like cc. They feel it is distracting. Movie theaters say they do not have subtitles because people do not go see them. “However, there are also no unbiased studies showing that captioning by itself has a negative effect on box office sales. Experiences with films that were made available with visible captions or subtitles while the films were ‘hot’ at the box office, such as showings of “Titanic”, “Harry Potter: the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” show quite the opposite. Hearing moviegoers flocked to the captioned and subtitled showings and also commented that the subtitles and captions were helpful, particularly when a character had an unfamiliar accent” (NAD).
We have looked at some of the challenges deaf people face when they go, act, or try to change, the movie theaters. It is hard understanding a movie when you can not hear what the characters are saying. Most movie showings should be subtitled, especially if it is a foreign film. We are coming to a day of age where people do not mind reading the text in the bottom of the scream. And whether or not you like subs, it is a little harm that can be endured so more people can go to the movies. We all need to be a little more sensitive of other people’s disabilities.