Inga is the most complex of characters. Rife with contradictions and bursting with life, she is the teenage subject of a documentary.
A Latvian teenager, Inga has the distinction of being the only hearing member of an otherwise deaf family. Since she was a little girl, she has acted as interpreter between her mother, father, brother, and the world. This is not a job she asked for, and not one she particularly enjoys. But as she leaves childhood behind, she contemplates leaving her family in order to pursue her own dreams. The family won’t manage without her, but Inga won’t manage to flourish without leaving. In so many ways, she’s like any other teenager. She’s seeking an identity, a path all of her own. But unlike others her age, she’s got an enormous responsibility on her shoulders and she feels it keenly – a responsibility not just to her family, but to the deaf community in general.
Director Kaspars Goba has a compelling and unique story to tell with Inga Can Hear. Inga is gloriously real and unfiltered. She is stubborn, conflicted, dreamy, thoughtful, frustrated. Her complete lack of pretense guarantees the audience forms an almost immediate emotional bond with her. You’ll root for her, and you’ll be fascinated to find that a young woman so used to speaking for other actually has quite a lot to say for herself.
I love a documentary that can just drop me right into someone else’s life so completely. And Inga’s life is quite different from my own – superficially, at least. But teenage dreams are universal, and it’s easy to recognize that striving for independence while not quite being ready for it, the testing of the yoke to one’s parents, the micro (and macro) rebellions, the fluidity of identity and goals. It’s so great to be along for the ride, such a privilege when someone allows you so fully into their life. Her story breathes new life into your own.