Dozens of films have focused on those with diseases or disabilities — and there’s no shortage of Hollywood productions about love and sex. But only a handful have ever really tried to combine these two themes.
“Take a Look at This Heart” does the job with tenderness and finesse. In the film, director Ben Duffy and executive producer Daniel Garcia attempt to show what love and intimacy feels like for people without arms or legs, or those restricted to wheelchairs.
The documentary, which runs one hour and 40 minutes, has been well over a year in the making, though it took only a month and a half to do the actual shooting.
“The reception has been amazing,” Garcia told BioNews Services, which publishes this website, in a phone interview from New York. “That’s kind of what’s kept us going.”
The movie can be purchased via iTunes, and premiered months ago. It’s been screened no less than 20 times across the country — from California’s Malibu Film Society and San Diego University to New York’s Mount Sinai and the School of Visual Arts — and seen by thousands.
The next screening will be Feb. 8 at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. That 6 p.m. event is sponsored by the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth and related inherited diseases. (Details are available here.)
“The film’s message, although represented through other disability types, is universal and is relevant to our community as a whole,” said Estela Lugo, the foundation’s medical outreach manager. “Love and sexuality is adaptable and not defined by our physical limitations. Whether able-bodied or disabled, we are all worthy of our own beautiful love stories.”
‘I’m sexual and sensual’
About half the 17 disabled people portrayed in Duffy’s film have cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or muscular dystrophy. The rest are permanently paralyzed as the result of auto accidents, shootings, and the like.
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