Disability, deficiency and excess: a critical re-examination of the construction, production and representations of physical disability in contemporary European film
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This thesis critically investigates three contemporary European disability films to examine how representation and metaphor are used to present physical disability as deficient in comparison with the able-bodied ideal. The notion of the normal and non-disabled has dominated discourse about the depictions of physical disability in mainstream film and, in the texts examined, this thesis seeks to identify how this is realised and, on occasion, challenged by the disability film. The influence of such a cultural script as normalcy often results in the creation of one-dimensional narratives that enforce the preference for non-disabledness and thus the insufficiency of the disabled predicament when compared with this myth. Although able-bodiedness and normalcy are not true reflections of the human condition they persist as the metanarrative that influences the majority of disability representations. The six chapters that follow will identify and trace this prevailing ideological trend by means of close textual analysis of the films in question, in the light of cultural disability and film scholarship and methodologies.