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Film / Board and Care

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Board and Care is a 1979 short film (26 minutes) directed by Ron Ellis.

Lila (Ron Ellis's sister Laura Jean Ellis) is a young lady with Down Syndrome who lives in a "board and care" facility and works in a factory. Her caretaker, Carolyn (Luana Anders), has gotten her placed in a new program that is designed to help Lila learn to live independently.

The board-and-care facility is in a small farm town. At a dance, Lila meets Ricky, a young man who also has Down Syndrome, who lives with his father on a nearby farm. Lila and Ricky fall in love, but their caretakers may not allow them to be together.



  • Book Ends: Begins and ends with Ricky on his family farm. The second time is more melancholy as it's after Lila has been taken away.
  • Dances and Balls: Lila and Ricky meet at an outdoor hoedown held for the Down Syndrome kids.
  • Downer Ending: Lila is taken away, crying. Ricky is left at home alone.
  • Down on the Farm: Ricky works on his father's farm.
  • Never Learned to Read: When Carolyn challenges Ricky's father Briggs about whether Ricky can read or write, Briggs defiantly says that he can't read or write either. It's not clear whether this is true or whether Briggs is trying to get rid of Carolyn.
  • The Noun and the Noun: A "board-and-care" facility, is an institutional home that is smaller than, say, a nursing home.
  • Race for Your Love: After getting to the factory and finding out that Lila is being taken away, Ricky runs all the way to the board-and-care home. He loses the race, as the car is moving down the block just as he arrives.
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  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Ricky and Lila, kept apart by caretakers who don't give them sufficient autonomy or respect.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: Ricky and Lila steal away from the dance and bond by looking at clouds. Lila thinks one is shaped like a hot dog.