Her Socialist Smile

No Longer Available

Film Info
Country Listing:USA
Premiere Status:Canadian Premiere
Festival Info
Festival Year:2021
Accessibility:Closed Captions
Program Category:Markers
Film Subjects:Disability
Politics & Political Intrigue
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):John Gianvito
Producer(s):John Gianvito
Narration:Carolyn Forché
Writer(s):John Gianvito
Editor(s):John Gianvito
Eric Gulliver
Cinematography:John Gianvito
Additional Cinematography:Shaun Clarke
Music:Gaetano Donizetti
Martin Marks
Sound:Pierre Huberson


Closed Captions Icon  Streaming with closed captions

Markers: Films that push the boundaries of the documentary form

Though her life generated voluminous literature, most people ignore the fact that iconic deaf-blind author Helen Keller (1880–1968) was one of the most passionate socialist advocates of her time. Continuing his work of patient and insightful political filmmaking, US director John Gianvito resurrects Keller's radical views, which have been largely suppressed or sanitized over the years. His experimental essay researches how, beginning in her early 30s, the pioneer leftist thinker fervently and eloquently spoke out on behalf of many progressive causes, from the rights of women and the disabled, to international socialism and world peace. Gianvito combines onscreen text taken from her most memorable public appearances, recorded voiceover by politically engaged poet Carolyn Forché, and quiet images of nature, creating another unique blend of activism, historical analysis and poetry. Reminding us that leftist struggles are inseparable from disability advocacy, Keller's words remain remarkably pertinent today. Charlotte Selb

Co-presented with ReelAbilities

Her Socialist Smile is presented with support from the U.S. Consulate General of Toronto
US Consulate logo



This event has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.


  • NOW Magazine - Profile of deaf-blind author Helen Keller and her socialist politics feels urgent 
  • POV Magazine Framing Helen Keller Anew

Additional Information

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