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Self Reflection Strategies and Idealisation of Animated Cinema : a Study of Self Definition


The definitions of animation in the writings of André Martin and his contemporaries focused on demonstrating the specificity of this form of expression in relation to live  action film.  The manual creation of movement versus its automatic capturing, the  figurative expression of ideas and of creativity of the animator, and the power of the  imagination were the key values advanced in these writings. However, efforts to  identify and clarify the essential characteristics of animation are ineffective : they  rest on a categorical confusion given the multitudinous uses of animation. A  definition that would specify the universal characteristics is therefore incapable of  explaining the phenomenon. The Wittgensteinian concept of  “language games” is a  promising prospect for a study of animation for it enables us to consider it as a  series of usages all connected through a network of “family resemblances”. One can  now consider various values (or “rules of the game”), various resemblances and  differences within different contexts of use. By considering “mise en abyme” (a form of reflexivity) strategies as a relevant usage of animation one may be capable of  investigating how animated cinema defines itself and how it reproduces certain  “myths” about itself. Such “myths” include : the gift of life to materials or drawings   that are normally inert; the plasticity that allows shaping them according to the will  of the filmmaker; and the precedence of the phantasmagoria on the usual standards  of reality.

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