SXSW Film Reviews

SXSW Film Reviews

A LIFE WITHOUT PAIN

D: Melody Gilbert

Documentary Feature Competition

Most parents strive to protect their kids from pain, but the ones highlighted in this heartbreaking documentary long for the shriek of an errant ouchie, the whine elicited from a stubbed toe. Their children, interestingly all female, are born unable to feel pain. Gabby, a headstrong 3-year-old from Minnesota, rubs at her eyes so much that she eventually goes blind in one. In Norway, 7-year-old Miriam breaks her leg but no one notices for two weeks. Gilbert – who directed, shot, and edited the doc – avoids bells and whistles, instead stepping back and allowing the children and their families to tell their tales of love, compromise, and vigilance. The story is arranged from youngest to oldest child, ending with 10-year-old Jamilah of Germany, whose family takes the girl's affliction in stride and refuses to let it rule their lives. The film is a powerful lesson in the resilience of close-knit families battling for normalcy. Austin Convention Center, noon

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