Sound and Fury

Filmmaker Josh Aronson steps into a hornet's nest of controversy in this compelling documentary portrait of an extended family's struggle over whether to get their deaf children cochlear implants. Peter and Nita Artinian, both deaf from birth and strong proponents of deaf culture, are forced to confront the issue when their five-year-old daughter asks for one of the hearing devices. Their wrenching attempt to make a decision is contrasted with the choice of Peter's brother and sister-in-law, both of whom have normal hearing but gave birth to a deaf son, to get him an implant when he's very young. The deaf members of the family accuse the hearing members of destroying the children's deaf identity; the hearing members argue that not to implant the device is to deny the children the chance to fully participate in wider society. Most fascinating about this PBS documentary is the unflinching look at the dynamics of the three generations involved. There's plenty of narrow-mindedness, anger, and pettiness on all sides, but also a great deal of love and compassion, as the parents and grandparents wrestle with the age-old question of what it means to have your children's best interests at heart. 80 min.

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