Netflix’s documentary Crip Camp stirringly opens up the history of disabled rights

Netflix’s documentary Crip Camp stirringly opens up the history of disabled rights

Polygon·2020-03-27 00:40

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The amount of material in the new Netflix documentary Crip Camp — titled after the nickname given to Camp Jened, a summer camp for disabled teenagers — could easily have filled a miniseries rather than a single movie. But to credit directors James Lebrecht (who also appears in the film as a subject) and Nicole Newnham, it never feels like they’re biting off more than they can chew. The material is dense by necessity, since prominent figures in the fight for disabled rights figure into modern curricula so rarely that Newnham and Lebrecht have to fill their audience in on a lot. By focusing on specific individuals and the shared starting ground of Camp Jened, the filmmakers find a concrete thread to follow rather than getting lost in how much history there is to cover. More importantly, they bring a personal, empathetic touch to the story that makes it feel immediate, relatable, and like a call to further action.

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