Autism Through Cinema

Special Guest: Sophia Rose O’Rourke on The Secret Garden (1993)

October 14, 2022

We are skipping and stimming with delight to welcome Australian filmmaker and producer Sophia Rose O'Rourke to the podcast today. Sophia talks us through her experiences as an autistic creative and how she has been using filmmaking to help discover and explore her own identity. We talk about her short film 'Danse Russe', based on William Carlos Williams' poem of the same name: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46483/danse-russe, and we spend some time dwelling on the barriers that autistic people can face when trying to make a space in the film industry. But we also celebrate the very rich strengths that the autistic way-of-thinking can bring to creative cinematic spaces.

We then turn our attention the 1993 version of The Secret Garden directed by Agnieszka Holland and based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sophia recalls her love of the film from childhood and the recognition she felt through the protagonist, Mary. We also reflect on the film's depiction of disability, and the power dynamics that can sometimes arise between carers and dependants.

After the recording, Sophia sent us a timely article on The Conversation about autism and employment. Have a read of it here: https://theconversation.com/how-do-we-make-workplaces-work-for-autistic-people-189572 

Enormous thanks to Sophia for taking the time to talk to us and for suggesting The Secret Garden. You can follow Sophia on Twitter at https://twitter.com/auntie_sophie 

Do get in touch if you have any reactions to this episode!

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