Changing our lives

Colin Griffiths

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DUE TO THE LONG DURATION OF THE PRODUCTION PROCESS I am writing the editorial a few days after the Oscar awards ceremony—the ceremony at which, against all expectations, the film Crash eclipsed the favourite Brokeback mountain. This unexpected outcome—where the initial outsider becomes the favourite and then falls at the final fence—offers some food for thought. Why, I wonder, did this heartrending love story not make the impact that was expected of it? The thought that comes to mind is that a gay movie, even a gay cowboy movie, is still a step too far for Hollywood. Nevertheless the film has garnered three Oscars, won other awards as well as proving very popular in the cinema. As a genre, cowboy movies have rather passed their peak of popularity so it is interesting to see that putting a gay slant on an old love story has played some part in the popularity of the movie. Undoubtedly the fine story combined with the directorial talents of Ang Lee and the acting abilities of a superb cast also played parts in the movie’s success. When I came away from the film I felt quite overwhelmed, I thought that the way the story had portrayed the eternal themes of love, deception, and fleeting happiness amid the storms of life was very powerful and that the question of the sexual orientation of the leading protagonists was not important—it was simply a good story. This led me to reflect that if movies can tell such a story about one section of society why can they not do so for ‘Do we not seek a society others? There is a disability movie sector and some very good movies have been made that have told stories of people with where people with disability.

However, to my recollection there have been no disability movies that have made such an impact internationally, disabilities are integral but nor any where the disability has not been the main issue in the film. Brokeback mountain made the grade not because it was a not necessarily central to gay movie but because it was a good movie with gay characters in it. To this writer the journey from the margins to full the story of our world?’ inclusion in society is a long one, a journey that has been made easier for the gay sector by the success of the film. We in the disability sector need our Brokeback mountain; we need a film that has a good story, is well directed and is acted by actors with intellectual and other disabilities who are integral but not central to the story. Indeed, is that not our aim? Do we not seek a society where people with disabilities are integral but not necessarily central to the story of our world?

I am taking a break from the editorship of Frontline. This is due to the fact that I shall be taking a sabbatical in order to carry out research over the next few months. As a result I will be vacating the editor’s chair for the next two issues.

Frontline 67 will be edited by Kathy O’Grady-Reilly and Issue 68 by Michael McKeon. Both Kathy and Michael have been on the editorial board for several years and will bring wonderful experience to the role of guest editor. It is said that variety is the spice of life and as such the next two issues will have some different flavours, while firmly remaining in the tradition that Frontline has become.

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