When sign language was forbidden.


Art academy student and VJ Jascha (20) was born deaf in a world full of hearing people. He can't escape it if he wants to fulfill his ambitions. This makes him rebellious and uncertain. Armed with a camera, he visits Europe's only home for eldery deaf people and tries to find out how these people have lived their lives. They tell him about their youth, when sign language was forbidden, and about their struggles against embarrassment and indignities. Though Jascha's world is very different he finds himself wondering whether some answers to his questions might be found in their stories. His foght for equality and respect, both as an individual and as a member of a cultural minority, the Deaf community, echo the life experiences of the eldery.

The deaf community in The Netherlands is small and (as in most countries) its sign language not officially recognized by the government. The denial of access, of equal opportunities to live, work and participate in society are on the top of the agenda of the Deaf movement. Jascha's camera images, sometimes edited in split screen, are comments on what he encounters, and reflections on his own life.


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