Thursday, March 6, 2014

Festival of Irish Arts and Music Day 4

My Left Foot: amazing book and film.
You couldn't make up this story, and wouldn't believe it if it weren't so obviously true. I am a Special Education teacher, so I can say that frequently I have believed handicapped kids have many more thoughts than they can communicate, but the story of Christy Brown is mind-blowing. The autobiography and later film of the same name surpasses anything you've ever read or seen.

Of course, there's Helen Keller's marvelous story--but I would like to mention that the teacher who brought Helen out of her 'dark night' was Irish. Annie Sullivan. Not that you must be Irish to be an amazing teacher, but apparently it helps. 

Christy Brown painting.

 The family in Christy Brown's story submerged him in love and acceptance, which is a hallmark of Irishness, I think. Stubborn love. Relentless love. The result was a brilliant mind being released to express itself in prose and art. 

Daniel Day Lewis and Brenda Fricker

Daniel Day Lewis won an academy award for his portrayal of Brown. It is said he remained in character throughout the shoot, in the wheelchair, etc., but unlike Christy Brown, could return to his life when the movie was finished. 

 Portions of the autobiography are frequently included in textbooks at the high school level. It is very well worth sharing with your classes.

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