“intimate, moving and funny documentary”
Lively, engaging portrait of high-spirited, 28-year-old Tobias, who has been deaf since birth. Winner of the 2017 IDFA Audience Award.
In the family’s home movies we see how Tobias has grown up. He maintains a close relationship with his somewhat older, hearing brother Joachim. Together they look back at their youth, and we see Tobias receive lessons from the speech therapist, attend a special school in Groningen for deaf and hearing-impaired children, and go on holiday with his family. Those holidays are important, for if anything, Deaf Child wants to show us that deafness is normal, not a handicap. Deaf people lead normal lives, although usually in a ‘parallel’ world.
Communication with the hearing world is cumbersome for Tobias, and his stay at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. – the world’s only university for deaf students – feels like paradise. Tobias really knows how to bring the two worlds together: as an instructor of Dutch Sign Language he teaches hearing students both his language and his culture. The unconditional acceptance of his deafness provides an opportunity to address all kinds of questions: from problems in raising a deaf child and their effects on the other family members, to the occasionally absurd consequences of handicapped status.