The reason I jump is a haunting and moving portrait of the non-verbal autistic person.
The documentary The reason I jump is an attack on the clichéd image of autism. We see different facets of autistic young people. Yes, we are talking about their suppressed anger and their isolation. We also see examples of this. But it becomes clear that in a loving environment they can be themselves, the parents in the movie certainly prove that.
Naoki Higashida published his book in 2007 as a young teenager at the age of 13 The reason I jump† In director Jerry Rothwell’s documentary of the same name, texts from his book are quoted through narration. His words form the frame. Naoki talks about how he experiences the world as a non-speaking autistic. The documentary also shows how five young people, on four continents, face the impossibility of speaking. They represent a broad spectrum of non-verbal autism.
English Joss can indeed speak full sentences, but undeniably there are demons within him that he can hardly control. A possibly missed pizza may simply cause its abandonment to explode. Frustrated at not being able to communicate, Indian Amrit pours her soul into remarkably colorful paintings of her surroundings. And even gets an exhibition of his work. Sometimes she kisses her mother lovingly, to show that people with autism can indeed show affection.
And what about best friends Ben and Emma in the United States who attended many special schools together. They communicate through letter boards, but just being together is enough. Jestina’s introduction to Sierra Leone cuts, of the five, she is furthest along the autism spectrum. That autistic people in this African country are often considered satanic is heartbreaking. Jestina’s parents have started a school for autistic children, which is a great triumph.
This creation documentary has not become a dry epistle on the agony of the autistic person. The text fragments of the writer Naoki lead us into his fascinating world of thoughts. At the same time, images are shown of young autistic Jim Fujiwara as an alter ego of the writer who is in nature, making it a sensory experience. The filmmakers managed to make it a compelling portrait of the experience of people with autism using means such as special lenses and camera points of view. And also in a thoughtful way to break down the clichés about autism.
The Reason I Jump (Cherry Pickers) now in cinemas, and on the Picl online platform.
Ulrik van Tongeren
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