By lm (Sun Aug 14, 2016 at 08:06:19 AM EST) (all tags)
There’s a beautiful opening scene in the 1993 thriller Hear No Evil. A young woman, Jillian Shanahan - played by Marlee Matlin, is in a bustling park. The sounds of playing children, chatting picnickers, pet walkers, and kite flyers fill the air. Then everything goes silent. Deathly silent. All of the sound cuts out while the picnickers continue to picnic and the children continue to run around playing. This is how director Robert Greenwald introduces us to the way that Shanahan’s deafness cuts her off from the fullness of the experiences of others.
That brief moment in the film is something I usually experience every night when I take out my hearing aids. One moment I can hear the traffic passing my apartment 10 stories down on the street, the gentle hum of the refrigerator, the slight whining of the AC unit. Then silence. I become detached from the world, no longer connected by the sounds of living.
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