Database for Animation Studies


Animating the Real: A Case Study

The ethics of collecting testimonies in documentary filmmaking has been the subject of academic discussion for decades, in particular since Claude Lanzmann's landmark film Shoah (1985). There are occasions however when a subject of a potential film would like to tell his or her story but for some reason is unable to speak. Language breaks down when an attempt is made to symbolize the trauma. This article gives an account of the author's experience of such an instance in making a three-part documentary series for the National Geographic about refugees coming to London. The article uses Lacanian psychoanalytical thought to give a theoretical framework to the events leading to the use of animation in the series.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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