Published May 04, 2012Petra's Poem is a non-traditional documentary featuring a woman with Down Syndrome reading her soliloquy about how it feels to live in today's society with a disability.
Petra Tolley, the female in question, wrote, narrated, choreographed and even performed in the film. Tolley and the rest of the ensemble cast perform in front of a blank white set, which allows director Shira Avni and her team of animators an opportunity to incorporate rotoscopy and under-camera animation to highlight and bring to life this seemingly deeply personal poem.
Unfortunately, the white background makes a particularly pale cast-member blend into the set and the left-to-right camera shots prove discomforting, making the ensemble occasionally resemble the Children of the Corn.
The four-minute run-time makes this experimental documentary a quick watch, which is ideal for anyone with attention deficiencies. And while the politically correct thing to say is that this is a profound and moving work of art that inspires and enlightens, the reality is that the poem is awkward and contradictory and the film doesn't have a conclusion, leaving viewers wondering what they just witnessed.
Avni's attempts to shed light on a different life experience are commendable, however. (NFB)