Rising Phoenix, the feature-length documentary released in August 2020 on Netflix, will stand as an important milestone in the Paralympic movement. It’s a high-gloss, dramatic celebration of the power of sport to transform lives.

Clearly, it was planned to coincide with the Tokyo competition this year but, of course, we’ll all have to wait another 12 months for that. 

In the meantime, filmmakers Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui have produced a piece of work that casts the athletes as superhuman. 

As one athlete puts it: “In the Olympics, all the bodies look the same. In the Paralympics, none of the bodies look the same.” There is a shading of the Marvel superheroes in this, the film even featuring the athletes as Greek sculptures. The subtext is clear – these are the real superheroes. 

Bookended by the scarred, otherworldly figure of Italian fencer Bebe Vio, wandering around what looks like a crumbling mansion, it takes us through the stories of several well-known modern Paralympians including wheelchair Tatyana McFadden and runner Jean Baptiste Alaize.

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