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Interjections and Connections: The Critical Potential of Animated Segments in Live Action Documentary

Honess Roe, A (2017) Interjections and Connections: The Critical Potential of Animated Segments in Live Action Documentary Animation: an interdisciplinary journal, 12 (3). pp. 272-286.

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Gwen Haworth’s 2007 documentary about her male-to-female gender transition is an autobiographical documentary that comprises mostly interviews with family members and close friends, interspersed with home video and observational material. The film also includes some less conventional documentary material in the form of a few short animated segments. About thirty minutes into the documentary an interview with Gwen’s mother is interrupted by an animated sequence that playfully establishes the issues she has with Gwen’s take on being female. Captions are added to retro magazine images of women and domestic scenes, such as ‘family events are not optional’ and ‘grow your hair long.’ Haworth (2008) has commented that she included the animation to lighten the mood and to add humour to a film that would otherwise become too intense and serious. However, this segment is more than a comic interlude. We might think of the use of animation in She’s a Boy I Knew as an interjection. In spoken language, an interjection is a word such as ‘wow’ or ‘aha’ that one utters to create emphasis, draw attention to what has just been, or is about to be, said and to express emotion and attitude. Grammatically, an interjection is not related to the other part of a sentence, yet it only really gains meaning, or significance, when heard in conjunction with that sentence. If a speaker says ‘wow!’ and nothing else, the listener will most likely wonder ‘what?’ If the same speaker says ‘wow! That’s the best documentary I’ve ever seen!’ then the listener will better understand why they said ‘wow’ and the value judgement being made regarding the documentary in question will gain greater emphasis. So, while the ‘How to be a girl’ section in She’s a Boy I Knew can be viewed independently of the documentary in which it appears and as such could stand as an exclamatory statement on its own, it only fully resonates as an articulation of the film’s themes about the societal expectations around gender when viewed within the film as a whole.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Film
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages
Authors :
Honess Roe,
Date : 29 November 2017
DOI : 10.1177/1746847717729552
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2017 The Author. Published by Sage Publications.
Uncontrolled Keywords : animated documentary, animation, computer generated animation, digital animation, documentary, photorealism, political animation, politics, realism
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 15:39
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 17:35

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