Questioning the ‘Normality Drama’: The Representation of Disability in Contemporary European Films

  • Eleanor Andrews


In film and television, even in the twenty-first century and in Europe, disability is frequently under- or misrepresented. This chapter focuses on three European films, which have, as their theme, the life of a physically disabled character: The Sea Inside (Alejandro Amenábar 2004), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel 2007) and Untouchable (Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano 2011). The discourse of disability in these films follows a trajectory, which is examined in relation to Paul Darke’s (Understanding Cinematic Representations of Disability. In The Disability Reader, ed. Tom Shakespeare, 181–197. London: Cassell, 1998) notion of the ‘normality drama’, where the filmic depiction of the disabled character emphasises the representation of normality rather than impairment. All three are based on true-life narratives, wherein the disabled person manages to achieve a goal in life in spite of their many difficulties.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eleanor Andrews
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

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