Words of silence

WORDS OF SILENCE (April 5, 2002)

LUCIA Rikaki's simply-shot new documentary Words of Silence (***) is a must-see for its look inside the world of Greece's hearing impaired people.
The unpretentious labour of love lets this overlooked group address the world. Interviews with deaf people, family (often also deaf) and friends reveal the day-to-day struggles of the deaf. The trouble is that sign language was only made official in Greece two years ago. Meanwhile most hearing people lack education about the deaf, so they often mistake them as "foreign", when they deign to vocalise. School, work and social interaction are all harder than they should be.

In her film, Rikaki makes the audience reconsider what is "normal". In one interview, a mother from a deaf family tells of shocking her doctor by being relieved that her newborn was also deaf. Later a young man chuckles at people's surprise when he and his deaf friends ride their beloved motorcycles. Particularly memorable is the "star" of the film, dynamic young Lemonia Gamalia. She and her also deaf mother articulately express two generations' fight to be heard.

* In Greek sign language with Greek subtitles

By Angelice Kontis