Moving Memories: Animated Testimonials and the National Film Board of Canada
This paper examines the contemporary cinematic trend to thematize the past through animated film. It specifically considers the National Film Board of Canada’s expanding development of animated nonfiction and first-person testimonials, suggesting that these works confront and deconstruct the fabrication of history. Two NFB animated shorts are of particular interest: Michael Fukushima’s Minoru: Memory of Exile (1992), which recounts the impact that the bombing of Pearl Harbor had on the filmmaker’s Japanese-Canadian father, and Ann Marie Fleming’s I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors (2010), which explores the intergenerational impact of traumatic experience. This paper assesses how both films – and their respective modes of production – become emblematic of the continuous struggle to make sense of the past, not only in the interest of personal reconciliations but also for the sake of national and communal catharsis.