*update* my review of “Unlikely Travellers”
The contraversial film “Unlikely Travellers” by Michael Noonan is being screened in Brisbane on August 12 as part of the Brisbane Independent Film Festival (BIFF). The film has been condemned internationally for its portrayal of people with disabilities by two academics at the Queensland University of Technology who saw some of Noonan’s footage at his Phd. confirmation process. The film is part of his Phd. The problem is, except for the two academics who have gone silent since their original criticism, everyone who is condemning this film have not seen it. The “debate” about this movie has become more like a game of Chinese Whispers than anything resembling a serious analysis. But that will all change on August 12 when the film goes public. I am planning to see the film, and if my plan is fulfilled I will write a review of it – stay tuned.
from the BIFF program… Unlikely Travellers is the candid story of six people who travel for the first time to Egypt. As suggested by the title, the group consists of people you would not expect to travel to an exotic destination the intellectually disabled. The trip was funded by a Brisbane-based disability organisation, and the expedition begins with a selection process whereby a panel of professionals selects candidates according to criteria such as the their ability to cope with crowds. The film documents this process in detail, and background on the colourful and diverse selection of shortlisted candidates is given by means of interviews with the hopeful travellers and their relatives. The personalities and strong character of each of the individuals are revealed through this process, and we gain even greater insight into the diversity of the group during their physical training for the tour. At the heart of Unlikely Travellers is a desire to lend insight into the daily realities faced by the individuals within this group. The film gives voice to a part of society that is commonly overlooked and rarely featured on screen. It is in showing the process of preparing for the trip and the unexpected setting of Egypt that enables all viewers to gain a very different perspective on intellectual disability with which to identify rather than what usual, stereotypical portrayals provide. See also The criticism of the movie “Philistines at the Gates” which says the film is an example of “misanthropic and amoral trash”and my criticism of the criticism “Laughing at “The Disabled” – power, perception and prejudice”