Monica and David | Duke Campus: Bryan Center | Special Events | Indy Week
This is a past event.

Monica and David 

When: Tue., March 15, 7 p.m. 2011
Price: Free
kenan.ethics.duke.edu

A telling scene occurs partway through the documentary Monica and David, about a pair of Miami newlyweds with Down syndrome who are trying to strike out on their own, away from the support of their families. Monica's aunt Maggie gathers them in the kitchen to show them how to make arroz con picadillo, a traditional Cuban dish. "Have you ever cooked at all?" she asks Monica, who, like her husband, is in her 30s. "No," replies Monica. She turns to David: "You?" "No, I never cooked yet."

Such are the challenges faced by Monica and David, who have been kept in a dependent state by their well-intentioned families. "Because we want to protect them so much, we are typically the first ones who treat them poorly by subconsciously denying them their rights to have a normal life," says Monica's mother, Maria Elena. First-time director Alexandra Codina (who is Monica's cousin) said in an interview that she worried her film would turn out "too sweet," but it won the award for best documentary at last year's Tribeca Film Festival and seems sure to inspire serious discussions of the rights and needs of the mentally disabled.

The free screening starts at 7 p.m. and will be followed by one such discussion, with UNC law professor Carrie Basas, who specializes in disability rights; Adrienne Allison, lead attorney at Disability Rights North Carolina; and Duke philosophy professor Jennifer Hawkins. —Marc Maximov

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