This is a quick recommendation of the documentary “Vectors of Autism” about 57-year old Laura Nagel and her life as an undiagnosed autistic adult, now self-diagnosed aspie. Here is the trailer:
The whole movie can currently be watched for free! on Culture Unplugged: Vectors of Autism.
The film is directed by John Schaffer, produced by Susan Marks and co-produced by Leah Kelley. Cinematographer Matt Nelson.
I saw it not long ago, and really like it. I’m not sure if I can explain what I like about it, but it is an honest, balanced and entertaining portrait of what it means for one individual to live with autism.
The beginning paragraph of the book Songs of the Gorilla Nation comes to mind, where the author states that “This is a book about autism. Specifically, it is about my autism, which is both like and unlike other peoples’ autism”.
Same with Laura’s autism… she is unique, yet characteristic of Asperger’s. The movie conveys that point beautifully through its alternation between Laura’s subjective perspective, her surroundings (places) and life circumstances, and the surrounding people/community’s view on Laura (I got the impression she is well accepted in her local community), and through a balanced focus on her strengths and difficulties.
Additional things I like about the movie: its pleasant creative & musical side and smooth transitions between perspectives with Laura’s own artwork (specifically: drawings of buildings et.c.), which is both relevant, good looking and visually entertaining.
I also like that the film doesn’t try to tell the viewer what to think; there is a lot of talk since most of the film consist of interviews, but a lot of the story takes place outside the words – in the way Laura walks and moves, the way she laughs, the way she thinks, the way she lives, her opportunities and limitations, and so on. While people if they wanted to could describe her as more or less normal based on some quantitative criteria – she wouldn’t fool anyone for long in regard to these soft, subtle social aspects: people may not be able to pigeon hole her as autistic if they are not familiar with Asperger’s Syndrome, but they would definitely be able to single her out as “different”, “one of a kind”, and “odd-ball”, or something similar.
Read more: there has been some live tweeting of the movie going on today here (perhaps still is). I’m also under the impression that Sam of Postcards from the edge of the Spectrum is going to put a review up here: Vectors of Autism later, and he has already put up a brief description and links to related websites, so that is probably a good place to go for more information.
Illustration from cultureunplugged.com