Like a mumblecore for invisible disability, The Diabetic follows a lonely and irreverent 30 year old Type 1 Diabetic named Alek who returns to his hometown to re-live his teenage 'glory days.'
Upon arrival in suburbia he finds that most of his old friends have moved away, started a family, or simply grown up. Only one person responds to his invitation: Matt, an old acquaintance who has never moved away from the suburbs. Matt represents everything that Alek despises about suburban life; the banal, boring, and uncultured. Unwilling to give up on his nostalgic dreams, Alek parties with Matt, launching them into a hallucinatory and directionless fugue through the dark streets of suburbia. Throughout the seemingly never-ending night and as Alek’s blood sugars become more erratic, he pushes Matt and their adventure to darker and darker places with complete disregard for their well-being.
An exploration of invisible disability through lo-fi cinematography, textural sound, and the anti-image.
90min, Canada, 16mm / HI-8
What are the aesthetics of disability cinema? What does a disability film look and feel like? What are its inherent characteristics or traits? What CAN it look and feel like?
The representation of disability in cinema and the inclusion of disabled filmmakers in the history of cinema is historically lacking. The analog aesthetic and DIY approach of The Diabetic showcases:
a) A need to create outside of cinematic tradition and the industry.
b) A film that is also at a disadvantage in society, like a person with disability, in this case aesthetically and financially.
Alek, and myself, feel less than human. Not fully human due to disability and chronic illness. The film would not embody those sentiments if it were shot on a red cinema camera. It needs to exist as this pixelated, noisy, and grainy image. It needs to exist as 'less than,' so then we can feel Alek's existence on the fringe of an able bodied society through the image and sound.
The film can't feel able bodied. And it doesn't. It embraces the anti-image. The film is shot on non-traditional cameras or, for lack of a better term, disabled cameras. Cameras that limit our ability to create traditionally cinematic images.