Since submitting this film for tutor feedback, I have condensed two slides of text into one, the reason being that I had initially intended to include information from Bibigul about the differing Rhesus factor between her and Dinara that may have caused Dinara’s jaundice. In the event, I did not include this information since it would have meant adding a lot more information from Bibigul, which would have encroached on Dinara’s narrative. Furthermore, I decided that her being born prematurely and the fact that she was “all yellow” would be enough to alert other first-time mothers to the dangers of jaundice in newborns, and the Rhesus information might confuse them with too much information. Jaundice in newborns should be taken seriously and mothers should be empowered to question medical professionals and make them conduct the appropriate tests, blood type among them. Although according to MyChild™ blood tests should be administered to prevent incompatibilities between mothers and infants, there are a whole list of other risk factors listed on their website. It would be very positive to raise awareness about these among women in Kazakhstan, but this is not within the scope of my project.
The text slide in the final film is thus clearer and more concise.
The pictures of her as a baby and young child are coupled with Bibigul’s comments about her being born and how she was as a young infant. Here I had to cut a lot of really good interview material where Bibigul was advising parents of disabled children to treat them as normal, not to coddle them, but to let them fall over and pick themselves up again; she believes this is why Dinara has such strength of character. Similarly I cut a lot of what she said about Rhesus factor and how Dinara basically put herself through school and university. By limiting myself to 3 minutes I really have been able to pare this narrative down to the bare essentials, and I think this is why it works.
There is no narrator’s voice since there is no authority; this is Dinara’s experience and it should not be seen through any lens of expertise (medical or otherwise), as this would detract from its very personal and subjective nature. So much of the disability theory I have been reading speaks of objectifying or classifying disability according to systems imposed from (usually non-disabled) external agents (see blog entry). Empowerment means returning agency to those from whom it has been removed or denied; not only allowing the subaltern to speak, but also enabling that voice by listening (Spivak).
The final image is one given to me by Dinara, and it captures the essence of Dinara’s dream. The children are obviously not Dinara’s and the photo is obviously not mine, but the visual works and hits home what she has been talking about. Transcending space and time is what I set out to do, so I was glad to get that feedback. Hopefully I can get enough useable material for the other films to maintain this level of engagement.