Conference Paper

Accented Epistles: Creative Treatment of Exile and Personal Loss in Hidden (2002) and Still Born (2014)

Publication

Author
Jonathan Rozenkrantz

Conference
Animation and Memory International Conference. Nijmegen, 22-23 June 2017.

Abstract

This paper discusses the creative treatment of painful memory in two Swedish animated documentaries, both of which imbricate animation with various kinds of indexical images in order to visualize the experience of exile and the loss of an expected child. While digitization has challenged the indexical image’s verifying function (Stiegler, 2002), animation has been elevated to the level of legitimate document (Bordwell, 2009; Glynne, 2013). The epistemological boundaries of documentary film have consequently been expanded (Honess Roe, 2013), and now include the inner worlds of social subjects. In Hidden (Gömd, Hanna Heilborn and David Aronowitsch, 2002), animation, video and still photography are superimposed to visualize a refugee child’s experienced Otherness. Drawing on Hamid Naficy’s notion of ‘accented cinema’ (2001), this paper argues that the repetition of this visual device overwrites the home/exile binary and reframes the protagonist’s existential predicament. Instead of juxtaposing memories of a nostalgic past with the present situation, the intermedial constellations produce an intrinsic tension within each moment, transcending the temporal boundary between the boy’s two lives. Borrowing Naficy’s notion of ‘epistolary films’, the paper then goes on to discuss Still Born (Åsa Sandzén, 2014), in which actual ultrasound footage is fused with digital film, animation and monologue to manifest a mourning mother’s memories of her aborted child. Reframing Roland Barthes’s (2001) claim regarding the ‘catastrophe’ of every photograph, the paper argues that this ultrasound image’s paradoxical being as a posthumous proof of life makes its absent object the mute subject of an unspeakable enunciation.

Show more

Details

  • Type:
    Conference Paper (peer reviewed)
  • Conference:
    Nijmegen, 22 23 June 2017
  • Published:
    2017
  • Language:
    English

About the Author

Jonathan Rozenkrantz

Jonathan Rozenkrantz is a PhD candidate at the Department of Media Studies. He holds a BA and an MA in Cinema Studies (Stockholm University). He has been a writer and editor for more than a decade, publishing extensively on film, visual arts, and ... Read more

Reference

Rozenkrantz, J. (2017). Accented Epistles: Creative Treatment of Exile and Personal Loss in Hidden (2002) and Still Born (2014). In: Animation and Memory International Conference. Nijmegen, 22-23 June 2017..