Breathing Lessons

Breathing Lessons

The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien

Streaming Video - 1996
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Academy Award Winning Documentary! According to Mark O'Brien, "The two mythologies about disabled people break down to one: we can't do anything, or two: we can do everything. But the truth is, we're just human." O'Brien was a frequently published journalist and poet, and a contributor to National Public Radio. He contracted polio in childhood and, due to post-polio syndrome, spent much of his life in an iron lung. Yet for more than forty years, he fought against illness, bureaucracy and society's conflicting perceptions of disability for his right to lead an independent life. Breathing Lessons breaks down barriers to understanding by presenting an honest and intimate portrait of a complex, intelligent, beautiful and interesting person, who happens to be disabled. Incorporating the vivid imagery of O'Brien's poetry, and his candid, wry and often profound reflections on work, sex, death and God, this provocative film asks: what makes a life worth living?
Publisher: [United States] : Icarus Films : Made available through hoopla, 1996
Branch Call Number: E-VIDEO
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 video file (ca. 35 min.)) : sd., col
Alternative Title: Life and work of Mark O'Brien


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LPL_MeredithW Jun 30, 2018

Winner of an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short in 1996, this film briefly explores the life of disabled poet and journalist Mark O'Brien, allowing him to speak about his work and his experience living with disability. (If his name seems familiar, it may be from viewing "The Sessions," a movie from 2012 about O'Brien's experiences seeing a sex surrogate in the 1980s.) O'Brien is a thoughtful, funny, engaging subject, and the movie wisely spends most of its half-hour running time focused directly on his words and ideas. Well worth a viewing.


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