WHY THE AWKWARDNESS OF DINA MATTERS

WHY THE AWKWARDNESS OF DINA MATTERS

The stellar documentary Dina, which debuted at Sundance this year (and consequently won this year’s U.S. documentary grand jury prize), was back in the news last week as it played at the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri.  Since being acquired by The Orchard in February, this amazing piece of work had sadly disappeared from the public discourse.  Let’s not let that happen again.

Although the distribution plan has yet to be announced, The Orchard will no doubt do a great job with Dina.  When it does, I will blog about it here.  Until then, let’s keep Dina in the public conversation.  Consider this your permission to share, reblog, and reprint anything from this post you’d like.  This is an important film.  It’s up to us to keep it from becoming invisible.  Which leads me to this:  If you run a blog or facebook page that discusses invisible disabilities, or discusses people with disabilities in general, you have an additional responsibility to highlight this great film.  Please do.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dina, it is a non-fiction film, a documentary, shot in the style of a rom-com.  (The film has a lovely soundtrack by the lovely Michael Cera too.  Yeah, that Michael Cera.)  The subject/protagonist, Dina Buno, struggles to overcome her past, as well as navigate the challenges of her present, to build a relationship with Scott Levin.  That past of hers includes the emotional scars left from the death of her first husband, as well as the physical scars left by a violently abusive ex-boyfriend.  Just typing that sentence breaks my heart.  Despite that past, Dina desperately wants nothing more than to give love and feel loved once again.

Dina and Scott both have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Dina has several other hidden disabilities.  Scott deals with anxieties.  And yet, co-directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles, tell their story deftly and honestly.  The honesty, especially when dealing with sex (which this film does A LOT), is sometimes more than a little awkward.

Good.  We need awkward honesty.  Hollywood has had trouble dealing with the entire spectrum people with disabilities can fall along.  Hollywood can stereotype and pigeonhole to the point of dehumanization.  Dina takes huge steps forward by rightfully humanizing Dina Buno — who is after all, only human.

You can read the Variety review of Dina, here.

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