The list of amputees in animated feature films is not long. There’s Captain Hook, Della Duck, assorted figures from How To Train Your Dragon, and . . . . that’s basically it. Add the congenitally limb-different Nemo, and that brings us to roughly half a dozen characters in all of cartoondom.
Massimo Marcovaldo brings us to roughly half a dozen plus one. A member of the supporting cast in Pixar’s new release Luca, Massimo is an Italian fisherman with one arm and a big heart. “This is how I came into the world,” he explains, after he catches Luca rudely staring at his pinned-up shirtsleeve. And that’s the extent of it; Massimo’s limb difference plays no further role in the story. There’s no gimmicky subplot ending in redemption or tragedy, no cheap sight gags or heroic acts. Massimo is just a dude who happens to have one arm. Another character happens to have curly hair, and yet another has emerald green eyes. These are all mere details, not defining traits.
That treatment defies the seemingly ironclad movie trope which holds that a disabled character’s physical difference is always the most interesting thing about them. Luca‘s creators went out of their way to avoid that trap, even consulting with the director of the award-winning documentary Crip Camp to ensure a true-to-life representation. Read all about it at the New York Times.
Elsewhere in the news:
A 24-year-old dental technician named Beyza Dogan has been approved for a rare double-arm transplant operation. The procedure goes forward as soon as a donor is found.
Some bionic engineers are taking inspiration from plants, which are often capable of controlled movement despite lacking a central nervous system, muscles, or joints. Read on to learn why leptosporangiate ferns matter to you.
Chance Anthony won multiple awards during his police training, but the academy withheld his graduation certificate because of his limb difference—and then his employer fired him. “Worst case of discrimination due to disability I’ve ever seen,” the state police commissioner says.
From Hollywood to Bollywood: This dance video by Indian above-knee amputee Subrheet Kaur Ghummann has amassed something like a gazillion million views on Facebook. We linked to the Instagram version.
MIT’s list of Innovators Under 35 includes Shriya Srinivasan, one of the pioneers of AMI amputation surgery, and Aadeel Akhtar, whose futuristic Ability Hand may be affordable enough to qualify for Medicare coverage.
How soon might your prosthetist incorporate 3D printing technology? Half of the respondents to a recent survey are waiting until they get more training, and a quarter believe it’s still too expensive. See full results of the poll at Amplitude‘s partner publication The O&P Edge.