West Ranch High School

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John Dichirico » Movies & Documentaries

Movies & Documentaries

This page is for ASL 1 Students, Parents, and Guardians.
Every semester we focus on one cultural piece of the United States Deaf Community. In ASL 1, we begin with the process of hearing, hearing aids, and cochlear implants. This means that we watch a few movies and documentaries related to these topics. 
Considering that the cochlear implant is a controversial issue within the community, I will be asking all parents or guardians to sign a permission slip to watch these films and documentaries. Below you can find a snippet of information about each documentary, T.V. show, or film that we will watch this semester. This is for your record as I will be providing these same explanations on a Google Form or printed versions for parents and guardians to sign.
Rated: TV-14
Andy in C Minor is an episode of Cold Case. Cold Case was a TV show about a female detective that was assigned to cases that were never solved. In this episode, the case is about a young man who was murdered at a Deaf school. The episode begins to dive into the controversial topic of cochlear implants.
We start with this episode of Cold Case as it gives a good introduction into our cochlear implant discussion. It does not force students to immediately pick a side and only gives a brief explanation of the device and the controversy. If you have never watched Cold Case, it is similar to CSI and Law and Order. There is a murder and the episode focuses on finding the murderer.
Not Rated (I would rate as PG or PG-13)
Although there is no swearing or bad language, there is strong language used throughout this documentary as family arguments occur. There is also a small section where surgery is shown, it is not in detailed and only lasts a few seconds. However, it also appears in this documentary.
Sound and Fury is a documentary that follows two brother's families and their decision on whether or not to get their child a cochlear implant.
Peter, his wife (Nita), and their children are all Deaf. One day their daughter, Heather, asks says she wants to get a cochlear implant. Being a Deaf family, they have to think if this is the right decision for them. They do not need a cochlear implant to communicate with each other and are able to navigate through the hearing world.
Chris and his wife are hearing but one of their newborn twins, Christopher, is deaf. Chris and his wife, Mari, know ASL. Chris' brother and his family are Deaf and Mari's mother and father are Deaf. They are not opposed to sign language or the Deaf community but they believe getting the implant for their son will be the best option for them.
Fighting begins as all family members begin to weigh in on the decision making. Peter and Chris' mother, Emily, wants her granddaughter to get the cochlear implant. Her husband agrees with her. Mari's parents, Nancy and Michael, do not understand why Mari wants to take their grandchild away from their culture.
Not Rated (I would rate as G or PG)
There is no cursing, inappropriate images, it is just a wholesome family documentary. The family has mended their relationships and there is no more infighting.
Sound and Fury: Six Years Later is a documentary that returns to the Peter and Nita's family six years after the first documentary. This short documentary focuses on what has changed since the filming of the last documentary to now. It does not include Chris and Mari and only focuses on Peter's family. It also includes the grandparents Emily and Peter Sr.
It continues the discussion about cochlear implants and paired along with the original documentary. These two documentaries dive deep into the reasons why there is a controversy over this topic. It is a great way for students to be exposed and seeing real life examples on how people feel. Even though these documentaries are from the early and mid-2000s, they are still relevant today.
Not Rated (I would rate as PG-13)
During this documentary, the cochlear implant surgery process is shown. It is very graphic as the implant is placed inside the head. It lasts a few seconds and I will provide the time code and give students details about the scene before so they know when to look away or skip.
I would also rate it as a PG-13 movie because the F-word is said once.
Hear and Now is a documentary about Paul and Sally an elderly Deaf couple who has been together most of their life. They have both decided that they want to get the cochlear implant. Their daughter films the process before, during, and after the surgery on how her parents progress with the new device.
Honestly, this is the film that most students fall in love with. It is very sweet to watch this couple interact with each other. It shows another layer to the cochlear implant and the complexities behind the device. Sound and Fury will focus a lot on the positives and give the CI a positive light. However, research and life experiences informs us a different story.
Hear and Now will tell a version of that story, that obtaining an implant is not always easy and it is not always as successful as some people. It also has a different tone than Sound and Fury. Where Sound and Fury contained arguments and yelling, Hear and Now goes through the process in a calm and collective manner. That does not mean there are not strong emotions but there is no strong arguments like in Sound and Fury.