‘Rising Phoenix’ Reaches Heights

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Source: International Paralympic Committee (IPC)

Zainab Talha

Among Netflix’s new barrage of films and series, “Rising Phoenix” was released on August 26th, 2020. This documentary focused on the Paralympic Games and provided a unique view on the lives of Paralympic athletes, giving viewers a perspective on their achievements and struggles.

The storyline followed the history of the Paralympic Games, beginning with Ludwig Guttmann, a Jewish neurologist, who set out to create a sporting event for people with disabilities. Guttmann first established what he called the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, and he decided in 1951 to hold them every four years in the same city as the Olympics. It was here that the Paralympics were born. 

The documentary also features the journeys of nine Paralympic athletes, showcasing each one of their individualistic dreams and aspirations. The athletes narrate their journeys, and each story has its own significance and heartfelt uniqueness. The movie does a remarkable job of portraying the beauty of the Paralympics as well as the hard work and dedication each Paralympian puts in.

Another striking aspect of the movie was the film shots. Each and every scene and angle contributed to the main message of the film. The aesthetic visuals served to provide a new perception of Paralympians, not only portraying their strength, courage and resilience, but also displaying a certain beauty within them. The artistic style adroitly presented to viewers the grace and elegance involved in such a task. Overall, this contributor to the film served as a beautiful addition.

As someone who has not usually been fond of documentaries, this one blew me away. The storyline, weaved in with the stunning visuals and relevance of the subject made this movie a masterpiece. Beyond its artistic grace and compelling plot, the movie challenged the way people view disabilities. It came clear after watching “Rising Phoenix”, that people with disabilities have faced greater restrictions through social barriers than they have in any other way. The movie portrayed the role of athletes, not only as overcoming obstacles and adversity, but serving to be role models and an inspiration for others. It came evident that with such achievement, people will begin to focus on their sport and not their disability.

At the beginning of the movie, one athlete, Bebe Vio described why she was given the nickname of Rising Phoenix, “Because the phoenix can live and die and burn and live again.” This statement encapsulated the heart of the film. “Rising Phoenix” reflected a story that deserved to be heard. It challenged perceptions by showing achievement, hard work and each Paralympian, through their unique journeys, reaching new heights. 

“Rising Phoenix” is a must-see, conveying an important message of determination, perseverance and resilience through it all.