Robert Rauschenberg | HOW TO SEE the artist with composer David Lang
A virtuoso of the most difficult piano music sitting on stage in silence. Fluorescent lights repurposed as instruments. Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Lang looks back on how Robert Rauschenberg’s “relentlessly collaborative” spirit impacted pioneering experimental musicians of the New York School including David Tudor, John Cage, and Christian Wolff.
So what I liked about The Accountant was that some of the typical format for the “high functioning autistic” movie was subverted.
First off the main character. Christian Wolff is an accountant who cooks the books for criminals. The typical plot would be the brainy guy who needs to be protected, and that gets flipped right off the bat. He’s a badass who can shoot a cantaloupe from a mile off and defends others around him, rather than the other way around.
Second there’s his relationship with (SPOILERS) his brother. It wasn’t the typical patronising keeper kind of relationship, but it wasn’t ambivalent either. And in the end when (SPOILERS) they’re after the fight, you’re kind of expecting them to hug it out, because that’s how emotional reconciliation goes down in Hollywood. That doesn’t happen, because Christian doesn’t like hugs or physical contact, and Brax respects that. It’s a nice change to see the autistic person being accommodated, not the other way around.
Lastly, and honestly this one is my favorite, it portrays low functioning, high support autistics so much better than I have ever seen. In the end it is revealed (SPOILERS) that the voice is Christians high support autistic sister, who is communicating with him and masterminding most of his deals and clients through her digital communication aid from a home for autistic people. She’s a big player and a hero, despite the fact that she is nonverbal and high support. You don’t see that a lot in movies. *EDIT* turns out she wasn’t his sister, she was his friend, the kid of the therapist that runs the home. Thanks to @meowmart01 for pointing that out!
Point being, it’s a good movie. It’s surprisingly good representation, and is definitely worth a watch.
An Anthology, Published by George Maciunas and Jackson Mac Low, 1962. Design: George Maciunas. With George Brecht, Claus Bremer, Earle Brown, Joseph Byrd, John Cage, Anthony Cox, David Degener, Walter De Maria, Ding Dong, Henry Flynt, Simone Forti, Dick Higgins, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Terry Jennings, Ray Johnson, Jackson Mac Low, Richard Maxfield, Robert Morris, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Terry Riley, Dieter Roth, James Waring, Emmett Williams, Christian Wolff, La Monte Young
A non exhaustive list of autistic characters in media, by my own perception
-Mumble the penguin
-Mantis, as portrayed by the MCU
-Drax the Destroyer (MCU once again)
-Sheila the Wolf Lady from Glow
-Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
-Julia from Sesame Street
-Carlos the Scientist
-Justine (No last name given, also from The Accountant)
-Many, many more
ben affleck plays christian wolff, a high-functioning autistic man and he does it SO WELL. this was so fucking well done holy shit like it shows him stimming. the terms stimming, neurotypical, and high-functioning autistic are SAID IN THE FILM.
the main FBI investigator is a woman of color played by cynthia addai-robinson
like yes it’s about an autistic dude who kills people who abuse their companies’ finances to get rich, at the cost of their employees and associates. he also kills gang lords who do the same thing. but neurotypical people are also shown doing the same exact thing for the same exact reasons, so it avoids isolating autistic/low-empathy people as unfeeling/killers
christian wolff is humanized throughout the entire film. he goes through his daily rituals, and we go with him, every day. he takes daily medication, which doesn’t seem big but like holy shit is it underrepresented in the media.
his body language is an accurate example of stiff and uncomfortable in social situations except when he’s talking about his special interest (??? it’s kind of a special interest? it’s his accounting work but like a specific special interest isn’t otherwise specified for him so i’m glad the writer found a way to work that into the story)
there is also representation of a low-functioning autistic person and how she is able to communicate and live a healthy life as a low-functioning autistic person when allowed the resources and support needed to do so.
tl;dr: the accountant is a well-made, high-budget film about a neuroatypical person who doesn’t “overcome” his compulsions and not “need” them anymore, but rather adapts his life around them and still is a very successful, productive member of society.
(note: i am not an autistic person. i have moderate-severe adhd, and saw the film with @trash-sharpie who is autistic.)