Article By Jonathan Rozenkrantz. “Colourful Claims: towards a theory of animated documentary.” – Kadesha_RESEARCH PAPER

“How ‘true’, then, is animation? Here, too, scholars seem to differ. Paul Wells, a central point of reference in the discourse of animated documentary claims that ‘the very subjectivity involved in producing animation […] means that any aspiration towards suggesting reality in animation becomes difficult to execute. For example, the intention to create “documentary” in animation is inhibited by the fact that the medium cannot be objective.’ At its best, animation can show a documentary tendency, by mimicking the conventions of live-action documentary film and engaging with social reality (Wells 1998: 27-28).”

“Wells thus rejects animation’s documentary potential on the grounds of its lacking objectivity, but the more ‘defensive’ discourse questions the idea(l) of objectivity itself. Journalist Beige Luciano-Adams, for instance, triumphantly proclaims that ‘the myth of objectivity has long been shattered. […] Witnessing is a complex act, and the cults of vérité and direct cinema often overestimate anchors of their own lasting, authoritative prowess’ (Luciano-Adams 2009: 22). Perhaps he is right as far as general documentary theory is concerned, but with Wells remaining an authority in animation studies, this ‘myth’ might not yet constitute a closed chapter in the book of animated documentary.”


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