on July 16, 2007
I have a child with Down Syndrome and when she was born, I researched a lot of literature about what to expect as she got older. Naturally as a parent I worried about what kind of life she would have. Would others shun her or make fun of her. Would she even be happy? Enter Duane Graves' "Up Syndrome". This is a documentary of a few days in the life of his childhood friend Rene Moreno. Frequently I find documentaries to be slow paced and not very engaging but I was immediately drawn into the world of Rene. I was struck by the clear fact that though Rene has a disability he also has all of the same concerns of many other adults his age. Girlfriend troubles, problems on the job and with the boss, what to do in his spare time, will his favorite basketball team win the championship, what will it be like when he becomes an uncle to his older sister's child. All the while having fun and showing a complete lack of concern of how the rest of the world sees him.
Rather than downplaying the disability (no pun intended), Rene and Duane celebrate it. Rene can laugh at himself and his friends and Duane does an excellent job of tackling a touchy subject head-on with humor and affection. It was a refreshing and, frankly, encouraging portrait of Down Syndrome and it helped me to celebrate the traits that make my own daughter unique.
Anybody curious about Down Syndrome here is the ultimate reality show. Anybody who loves a good documentary this is for you.
And lastly, anybody who is curious as to the secret identity behind Hot Dog Man....
on October 18, 2010
Up Syndrome is a fascinating character profile with an unexpectedly powerful, humanizing effect on the viewer. It is an offering by director Duane Graves to share in the story of a year in the life of his childhood friend, Rene Moreno, who was born with the congenital development disorder "down syndrome."
Rene's life story, only a portion of which is encapsulated in the short-form of this documentary, is instructive and heartwarming. There are many really great moments in which the viewer gets to share something special - a perspective largely missing from modern media libraries.
It highlights the need to advocate for inclusiveness and dignity for all members of society caught up in a world that has been speeding up and growing less and less patient. Let this little film into your life for fifty-nine minutes, and just see if it doesn't do for you what it did for me: it mesmerized me, and while I wasn't paying attention, it grabbed my heart and started playing it like a toy piano: with great joy and imagination.