Sundance Review: I Didn’t See You There

It’s impossible to appreciate the challenges being in a wheelchair presents to carrying-out everyday tasks, let alone anything a little more ambitious. The things those of us who are able-bodied take for granted can become some kind of elaborate obstacle course. It’s still scandalous that in 2022 there are so many places and spaces which do not offer adequate access to people on four wheels. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Filmmaker Reid Davenport is well aware of the trials and tribulations of being a wheelchair user. Every day is another new experience. Being gawped at, or ignored or treated like you’re helpless. Often by well-intentioned people. When a circus tent arrives in his neighbourhood it starts him thinking about the legacy of the freak show and how he has made a career of putting himself in front of the camera. The result is I Didn’t See You There.

Davenport stays behind the camera in I Didn’t See You There. We’re introduced to life from his viewpoint, both literally and figuratively. Filmed from his vantage point, his travels and travails are accompanied by his thoughts and feelings. While you might imagine this would only have limited appeal as a spectacle, it works thanks to a lot of imagination on the director’s part. We’re witness to an almost constant stream of good and bad in I Didn’t See You There but anonymity is the very last thing you’re likely to find.

I Didn’t See You There screened at Sundance Film Festival.

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