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Memory migrations: bringing the past to life in contemporary animated film

Gilbride, MA; (2016) Memory migrations: bringing the past to life in contemporary animated film. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Animation plays with time and space. The image can be moved forward or backward. It can be built upon. It can be erased. Cinema scholar Alan Cholodenko posits that the act of animating – of endowing the inanimate with motion and life – 'cannot be thought without thinking loss, disappearance, and death'. In this research, I focus on four animated shorts produced between 1992 and 2010 that have capitalized on the medium's potential for temporal and spatial convolution, each returning to the outmoded form of hand-drawn animation to revitalize the past: Michael Fukushima's Minoru: Memory of Exile (1992); Mark Middlewick, Samantha Nell, and Anna-Sofia Nylund's A Kosovo Fairytale (2009); Ann Marie Fleming's I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors (2010); and Marie-Margaux TsakiriScanatovits' My Mother's Coat (2010). Beyond their visual ties, the films connect thematically. Each unfolds as a familial narrative in which one generation passes its experience onto the next. Each chronicles geographical movements and cultural dislocations, often the result of war and exile. Heavily personalized, each film was crafted by the children of the main protagonists and by extension becomes an autobiographical exploration of intercultural heritage. This dissertation contends that the production of these films signals a larger trend within cinematic representations of the past, in which – rather than attempting to reconstruct sweeping historical narratives – the medium of animation serves to highlight stories of individual experience and memory. This study considers how these films operate strategically to visualize remembrance, more broadly asking why animation has become a privileged form to do so. It is an investigation into the intricate connections between art and life and considers how the works produced are corporeally bonded to their modes of making, to the past, and to family. It examines the ways these films negotiate the past from generation to generation, while inquiring how personal stories can become collectively shared.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Memory migrations: bringing the past to life in contemporary animated film
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History of Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1532856
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