Opportunity Missed

Issue section: 
(290)

Inside I'm Dancing (reviewed in October SR) filled me with joy, pulled on the strings of my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

I'm so relieved that someone has finally had the courage to make a film that captures the true essence of disability. I love this film and want to celebrate it, and could not fault the acting or its message.

But as an actress with a disability I feel frustrated that a film which delves into the struggle of disability is not brave enough to use actors with real disabilities. I know plenty of talented disabled actors, and feel it would have been a huge leap in the media world had they dared to employ an actor with a real speech impediment, but instead they kept it safe. It's similar to young boys playing female parts in Shakespearean times or white actors being asked to black up for minstrel shows.

It reveals how cynical the film industry is. It highlights the prejudice and difficulties a disabled person faces in getting work. Audiences are ready to see beyond the disability and appreciate the performance - but for this to happen they need to be given the opportunity to see real disabled performers in action, performing.

Inside I'm Dancing is progressive in its fight for the acceptance of disabled people, and its portrayal of life with a disability is accurate and wonderful, but it will only be progressive as a piece of cinema and won't be part of the real fight which goes on every day - the fight for employment, equal opportunities, acceptance and rights.

Cerrie Burnel
Manchester