SXSW 2021: “4 Feet High” discusses disability in its own unique way

Argentinean writer-directors María Belén Poncio and Rosario Perazolo Masjoan bring you the television series episode “4 Feet High”, which blends together a 15-minute standard episodic television structure with virtual reality. I feel “4 Feet High” successfully portrays the disability issue in its own unique manner. This episode is based on the real life experiences of Rosario Perazolo Masjoan who happens to be a disability rights activist. It features Marisol Agostina Irigoyen in the lead role. Irigoyen plays Juana, a 17-year-old high school wheelchair user.

4 Feet High tells the story of our disabled protagonist Juana who aims to explore her sexuality. But one thing that haunts Juana is her own body, which she happens to be ashamed of! She is sent to a new high school and she discovers the lack of sex education there. She protests against this matter and asks for sex education to be included in the curriculum. Form here begins her journey of exploring and experimenting with her own sexuality. Upon watching 4 Feet High, you will get familiar with the life of a modern day high school student which involves making friends, partying, drugs and sex. And of course, nowadays students do opt for a better quality of education, which can be seen here as well.

The Good:

Marisol Agostina Irigoyen as Juana in 4 Feet High

World class narrative

I feel 4 Feet High has an excellent narrative as the narrative doesn’t just focus on the sexual awakening of Juana but also details the responses of her friends and school towards her disability. I find the narrative to be amazingly real at some places. Take for instance a scene where Juana and her friend are summoned by the principal for being out of the class and Juana demands the same punishment that the principal would give to her friend. This scene is indeed heart touching as we can see Juana take such a major step against discrimination. There are scenes too where she has issues exploring her sexuality. I personally feel 4 Feet High can be a lesson for disabled individuals to cope up and make their mark in this discriminatory world.

Amazing cinematography

4 Feet High comprises of an excellent cinematography. The post-production involves the addition of colorful visual effects which occasionally overlap the images. I believe this amazing touch to the cinematography has really helped in showcasing Juana’s dreams and imaginations.

 

The Bad:

I don’t know if this should be addressed as “bad” or not, but 4 Feet High showcases some awkward and steamy sex scenes which might not be suitable for certain audiences like kids or even teens. Here Juana on the quest explore her sexuality, indulges in intense sex. The opening sequence depicts her fantasy to have threesome with a man and a woman. The audience may surely think that Juana is bent upon putting herself into situations which can turn ugly. If you watch the episode, you will come across a point where there arises a risk of unwanted pregnancy!

Overall:

I think 4 Feet High is one truly engaging episode which can prove to be a life-changing lesson for an entire generation of disabled people. It does portray Juana’s ideological conflicts with her mother and teacher and how she fights out of oppositions and failures to make her own pride.

The direction is excellent and there are no slowdowns or detours. The episode is accompanied with snappy dialogues and some sweet memorable music which will add to your audiovisual experience. Irigoyen has played her role brilliantly and I must tell you that her overall performance is most likely to keep you captivated throughout the entire 15-minute runtime. The ending may seem a bit abrupt, but I do hope this series is going to develop more interesting stories on Juana in its upcoming episodes.

4 Feet High Trailer:

 

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Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
  • Acting - 8/10
    8/10
  • Cinematography - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7.4/10
    7.4/10
  • Buyability - 6.8/10
    6.8/10
  • Recyclability - 6.7/10
    6.7/10
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About Subhadeep Ganguli

Meta film critic. Posting on behalf of Nirmal Word Services, content service agency in India.

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