________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 9 . . . . January 2, 1998

cover David With FAS.

Directed by Gil Cardinal.
Produced by Dorothy Schrelber, Gil Cardinal, Jerry Krepakevich. Kanata Productions and the National Film Board.
VHS. 44 min. 30 sec.
Order #9196039 [In Canada 1-800-542-2164; In the USA 1-800-542-4264]

Subject Headings:
Fetal alcohol syndrome-Patients-Biography.
Fetal alcohol syndrome-Patients-Family relationships.
Documentary films.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Katie Cook.

* /4

David With FAS is the personal story of David Vandenbrink, a seemingly normal 21-year-old with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. While the inside of the video case contains a "Fetal Alcohol Fact Sheet", this video is not intended to be a resource of "hard" information about FAS. Instead, it tells two stories, one of a family which is trying to cope with extra-ordinary circumstances, and the other of David, a highly intelligent young man who cannot ever have a normal life.

      Shot partially by David himself, the video attempts to show what it is like to have FAS. David also narrates portions, and his voice is low and difficult to hear. The video, which calls for the audience's total concentration, is very slow moving as much of its length is devoted to conference discussions which focus on David and his disability and which involve his parents, siblings, social workers, etc. An nameless narrator occasionally breaks in to clarify a point or provide additional information.

      The camera work is often grainy (David was using a Camcorder), and the movement of the camera makes images distorted and blurred. If this "effect" was done purposefully to show how out- of-focus life is with FAS, it could have been done better. David's footage is difficult to concentrate on, and the quality of the images confuses, rather than makes a statement. The professional camera work is generally relegated to the interviews with the people in David's life. While much easier to view, nothing special draws the viewer into these portions of the video.

      David With FAS does convey the hopelessness and the struggle of David's life and, for that reason, could be useful to students interested in the topic. Before utilizing the video, teachers should carefully consider the maturity level of their classes and the willingness of the students to provide the required concentration to pick out the video's pertinent facts.

Not recommended.

Katie Cook is a social studies teacher and librarian at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School in Steinbach, Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364