The Autism Through Cinema podcast reaches its sixteenth episode on November 26th (with a look at Dario Argento's grisly horror film Phenomena) and we're steadily building up a fascinating and surprising canon of movies with an autistic flavour. We've scrutinised the visions of anti-psychiatrist RD Laing in Peter Robinson's documentary Asylum, we've navigated the world of animation via Mary and Max and two short Pixar films, and we hung out with a gender-bending Tilda Swinton in Sally Potter's magnificent Orlando, to name but a few.
In our most recent episodes we've been welcoming a number of very special autistic guests who joined our regular hosts for some fascinating and varied discussions. First up, we enjoyed the insights of Natalie Marcus, a former student of Queen Mary University of London, who brought the quirky rom-com Lars and the Real Girl to our attention. Natalie reflected on how Craig Gillespie's film does a good job of showing how communities can adjust their understandings of reality in order to accomodate autistic difference. Listen to our Lars and the Real Girl episode here.
Following Natalie, we welcomed autistic film journalist Lillian Crawford along to discuss Jean-Pierre Jeunet's cult classic of Parisian love, Amelie.
Our most downloaded episode to date, the discussion centred on the neurodivergent outlook of the central character and considered how Jeunet's vision of a vibrant almost cartoonish Paris gives viewers a glimpse into how the world can feel different to those who think differently.
Our next episode features autistic researcher, linguist, musician, and beekeeper Dr Gemma Williams who was perfectly happy to jump in at the deep end and endure Dario Argento's strange and violent horror giallo Phenomena. Gemma reflected on gendered autism, and the potential for a neurodivergent reading of the insect telepathy at play in the film. At the time of writing, the episode is due to go live tomorrow morning, so look it up on all major podcast platforms and enjoy!
Coming up before Christmas, we welcome autistic illustrator Ash Loydon to discuss Pixar's classic tale of excitable vehicles in Cars, while friend of the podcast Ethan Lyon returns for our Christmas eve episode discussing Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Keep your ears primed in the new year for an analysis of Brazil with Neurocultures Collective member Benjamin Brown, while Lillian Crawford returns for a discussion of Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express.
It turns out there are a lot of autistic people out there who have a lot of thoughts on a lot of films! It's an incredible delight to be revisiting these films from a fresh new perspective. And if you're a fan of the podcast, do make sure to share it across social media, and get in touch if you would like to contribute to our discussions.