I Want to Tell You Something

Oskar and Leo are twins. Because his brother Oskar was born deaf, Leo´s growing up bilingual: In addition to spoken language the family also uses sign language to communicate. Martin Nguyen´s documentary film I want to tell you something approaches this family´s life with a great deal of care and sensitivity, in both normal everyday activities and also difficulties in communication. The reflexion on mental states is of lesser importance. When the parents, Sandra and Stefan, talk about the past two years, they mention a great deal of mourning relating to their son´s handicap, including their coming to terms with the situation. Nguyen is however interested primarily in how the present develops. Over the course of a year in the family´s life he directs the normally static camera at everyday situations and gives the images priority over the sound - at times the latter even becomes vague. The film performs some translation work in that communication in I want to tell you something is more visual than usual, in many different senses. Gestures reduplicate both signs and what is being said. At the dinner table, in the sandbox and when playing on the couch and in the yard, the fact that gestural statements are more than equal to verbal ones becomes clear. At times these images are truly loud, such as when two languages are employed simultaneously. Signs and gestures seem more direct than words, so that with time the viewer has the impression of coming close to the family. The inability to hear becomes less and less important. Someone who´s unable to watch, as the film demonstrates, misses a great deal.

(Dominik Kamalzadeh)

Translation: Steve Wilder

Four-year-old twins Oskar and Leo are growing up in a house with a rambling yard which is situated on the edge of Vienna. The film begins in this familiar, familial environment where the children and their parents live, and where the filmmaker starts accompanying his protagonists for over a year. The result is a document of what and how Oskar and Leo learn and discover.

Director Martin Nguyen can sign, which made communication with the children without third parties possible. This direct contact and fluent exchange is tangible and an important element in the film, which also encouraged establishment of a close relationship with the children and both parents.

The film also looks at what deafness has meant to the hearing parents, Sandra and Stefan. A cochlear implant, which could make Oskar hear, had been discussed since he was born. They finally decide to learn sign language themselves and raise their children with this mode of communication, which is still foreign to them. Leo will grow up bilingual, with sign language and spoken language. For Oskar, sign language represents an essential means of expression – his first language.


link to pdf press-folder

Orig. Title
Ich Muss Dir Was Sagen
65 min
Martin Nguyen
Orig. Language
Martin Nguyen
Martin Nguyen
Martin Nguyen, timtom
Nils Kirchhoff
Rosana Saavedra Santis
Wolfgang Mohaupt, Elisabeth Tarinkulu
Sound Mix
Hans Künzi
Sound Editing
Nils Kirchhoff
Dramaturgical Advisor
Rolf Orthel, Judith Wieser-Huber
Mischief Filmproduktion
Oskar Badegruber, Leo Badegruber, Sandra Badegruber, Stefan Badegruber
Executive Producer
Ralph Wieser, Georg Misch
Production Manager
Peter Janecek
Production Assistance
Fritz Ofner
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264)
Festivals (Selection)
Viennale - Vienna Int. Film Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des Österreichischen Films
Nyon - Dokumentarfilm Festival
Edinburgh - International Film Festival
Seoul - International Family Film Festival SIFFF
London - Disability Filmfestival