We may not be in chairs and may not be athletes, but we all have disabilities, sometimes of the spirit.To consider the bleak months and sleepless nights when these men first confronted the reality of their injuries, and now to see them in the full force of athletic exuberance, is to learn something valuable about the human will.These tough all-Americans compete in international championships.
This is one of those rare docs, like "Hoop Dreams," where life provides a better ending than the filmmakers could have hoped for.
Also like "Hoop Dreams," it's not really a sports film; it's a film that uses sport as a way to see into lives, hopes and fears.
The genre documentary supplies the emotional and narrative satisfactions associated with popular commercial cinema, mining its material directly from the real world rather than synthesizing it according to screenwriting formulas.
Its character arcs and three-act architecture are supposedly found in nature -- or at least at events like the National Spelling Bee, the setting of "Spellbound," one of the progenitors of the genre.
"Mad Hot Ballroom," which follows children in three New York schools as they prepare for a citywide dance tournament, offers up some of the pleasures, and many of the clichés, of a classic sports movie, right up to the climactic triumph of the underdog.
That the movie explores a unique event, the outcome of which could not have been known in advance, makes its sentiments sweeter and more intense.
Of course, documentary remains an elastic category, encompassing essay films like "The Aristocrats," historical inquiries like "Ballets Russes" and acts of witness like "Darwin's Nightmare" -- all released to critical praise in 2005.
But none of them received as much attention -- or made as much money -- as "March of the Penguins" or "Mad Hot Ballroom," two movies that typify what might be called the Hollywood-style documentary, or the genre documentary.
" You could have heard a pin drop as he answered: "No, I don't think so. One strategy is to knock over your opponent's chair and land him on the floor; that's not a foul, although the referees helpfully put the players back on their wheels.
My injury has led me to opportunities and experiences and friendships I would never have had before. "In some ways, it's the best thing that ever happened to me."This is hard to believe, but from him, I believe it. There is no love between Soares and Zupan ("If he were on fire, I wouldn't piss on him to put it out"). Has anybody been injured again while playing the game? Many people think quadriplegics have no control over their four limbs, like Christopher Reeve, but most of them retain some degree of movement.