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Autism and Cinema: An Exploration of Neurodiversity

The Barbican, London

16th - 28th Sept, 2021

Bringing together a diverse selection of films, ranging from documentary to animation, and genre-twisting fiction to experimental filmmaking from within the autistic community, this programme asks how the language of cinema can be challenged and changed by autistic perspectives.

Typically, cinema has depicted characters with autism from the outside, looking in with fascination at a high-functioning or magical character who throws out of joint the ‘neurotypical’ lives of those around them. Medical films similarly treated the behaviour of autistic individuals as eccentric and obscure, heralding a wave of anti-psychiatry and activism.

A cinema reflective of autism and opening onto the experience of neurodiversity is rare. Yet it has much to offer our understanding of inner and outer life, ushering in new sensory and relational ways of being in the world.

16/09, 18:30: Temple Grandin (2010) & 7 Minutes with Temple Grandin (short)

with Dr Bonnie Evans & Dr David Hartley

18/09, 14:30: Le Moindre Geste (1971) & Lightsteps (short)

with Dr Damian Milton & Prof Janet Harbord

21/09, 20:00: Mulholland Dr. (2000) & The Mask (short)

with Georgia Bradburn & Prof Steven Eastwood

23/09, 18:00: Jigsaw (1980) & Illuminating the Wilderness (short)

with Robina Rose & Kate Adams

25/09, 14:30: Life, Animated (2016) & A is for Autism (short)

with Tim Webb & Carla MacKinnon 

28/09, 18:00: Keep the Change (2018) & Outside In (short)

with The Neurocultures Collective