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PIFF 2010 #3 - Maria and I


A Spanish documentary based on a the artist Miguel Gallardo's relationship with his autistic 14 year old daughter, Maria. The audience gets to experience a few days in the life of these two, as they spend a week in a hotel on the Grand Canary Island. Through interviews with May, Maria's mother and the narration of Miguel, the audience is able to enter their world of being Maria's parents and to experience what really autism is.

For those who are unaware of this condition, this documentary is very eye-opening. Maria is a wonderful soul who is interesting and has annoying habits like yelling when she dislikes something (just like any person would want to do) but we are able to understand why she does those things. Her world is different to the way a normal person views it, and this documentary tries to capture it the way her father has tried. 

As a cartoonist Miguel uses his drawings to communicate with his daughter and it's through these drawings he is able to humourously introduce us gently into this other realm. Although she lacks the simple skills of dressing herself, setting the table or just understanding directions, Maria is able to never forget anyone she meets. She has the skill of remembering everyone's names she has ever met and creates this to comfort herself. It's fascinating to enter her life and be able to see how parents of autistic children handle this way of life that is thrown at them.

This documentary was touching and very sensitive. But it was done well and made me smile.

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