People Next Door 

  • The Bélier Family Rodinka Bélierových / La famille Bélier
    Directed by: Eric Lartigau
    France, Belgium, 2014, 101 min

    Paula is sixteen, she helps her family on the farm, and she goes to school, where she has her eye on a boy she fancies; and, while it wasn’t really her plan, she finds herself singing in the school choir. Except that her life is somewhat unusual: her family is hearing-impaired. A superbly cast coming-of-age story, in which deafness is the least of everyone’s problems. The film went on to provide the inspiration for the American, Oscar-winning CODA.

  • The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic Slepý muž, který neviděl Titanic / Sokea mies joka ei halunnut nähdä Titanicia
    Directed by: Teemu Nikki
    Finland, 2021, 82 min

    Jaakko is visually impaired and uses a wheelchair. He is in love with Sirpa. They haven’t met in person yet, but they speak to each other regularly on the telephone. One day something unexpected happens and Jaakko decides he must go to her immediately, so he gathers his courage and sets out on his own… A film which doesn’t tell a story of physical disability, but it successfully mediates the experience of it. Winner at Venice as part of Orizzonti Extra.

  • Level 34 Level 34 / Level 34
    Directed by: Zach Breder
    USA, 2021, 25 min

    Sometimes the story preceding the making of a film is just as important as the work itself. Zach Breder, a young man living with a serious heart defect, had always wanted to shoot a movie and, with the aid of the Georgia Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he managed to do just that. This adventure story about a boy named Chris who, with the help of his friends, solves the mystery of his eccentric uncle, began as a “mere” dream and ultimately became a professional film which now celebrates its international premiere at the Karlovy Vary IFF.

  • My Sister Liv Moje sestra Liv / My Sister Liv
    Directed by: Alan Hicks
    Australia, USA, 2022, 70 min

    When eight-year-old Tess learned that her mother was pregnant, she was not excited at the prospect of a sibling. But with the birth of little Liv, who had the same fiery red hair as her older sister, an unbreakable bond was formed that, sadly, was torn apart too soon. Grammy Award-winning director Alan Hicks has shot an equally touching and important documentary about pain transformed into hope.

  • The Sessions Sezení / The Sessions
    Directed by: Ben Lewin
    USA, 2012, 95 min

    Poet Mark O’Brian (John Hawkes) contracted polio as a child and became paralysed as a result. He has troubles breathing and has to spend most of his time in a ventilator known as an iron lung. Now aged thirty-eight, he realises he doesn’t want to end up a virgin, and so a sex therapist (the excellent Helen Hunt) enters his life. Winner of the Audience Award at Sundance (2012), the film is an unusual yet immensely romantic comedy, in which sex takes a back seat.

  • Small, Slow but Steady Naslouchej očima / Keiko, me wo sumasete
    Directed by: Shô Miyake
    Japan, France, 2022, 99 min

    The young boxer Keiko was born with a hearing impairment, and yet she has successfully gone professional. Her style is characterized by a calm energy, but also uncertainties. Will this fragile young woman stumble beneath the blows of life, or will she win her inner battle? This surprisingly poetic film about boxing comes with a reputation as an unassuming gem from this year’s Berlinale.

  • Sonata Sonáta / Sonata
    Directed by: Bartosz Blaschke
    Poland, 2021, 118 min

    A tale about hope and the promise that it’s never too late to start again and make your dream come true, even if it seems out of reach. Everyone is convinced that 14-year-old Grzegorz is on the autistic spectrum – except his new assistant, who discovers he is suffering from a severe hearing impairment rather than autism. After proper treatment the boy enters a world that had been denied him for so long… A story based on real events.


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