SEE MEMORY (2016), Animation, 2016
See Memory is a film by Viviane Silvera made out of 15,000 painting stills. The title was inspired by an essay by Oliver Sacks entitled Speak Memory that appeared in the New York Review of Books in 2013. The film explores how our memories define who we are, how we remember, and the inextricable link between memory and imagination.
The plot is loosely based upon Ordinary People, the 1980 film by Robert Redford that explores the therapist–patient relationship and the need for a witness to our life stories. The main character is a boy unable to communicate his suffering. He connects with a therapist and through that connection and the ability to voice and define his story, he is able to come to terms with what had seemed unbearable. He leaves therapy with a new sense of his place in the world.
See Memory’s main character is a girl who we meet walking through Central Park on a winter’s day. She is alone and disconnected, lost within the world of her suffering–unable to decipher reality from dream. She enters therapy and gradually connects with the therapist who bears witness to her story. Leaving, she re-enters the park transformed by the sharing her story–everything looks and feels completely different.
Recent research in neuroscience has shown that from the moment we recall them, memories are in flux, interacting and mingling with imagination. See Memory explores this idea in shifting layers of imagery with perception interacting with dreams and imagination. Interviews with psychiatrists and neuroscentists guide the imagery in the film, speaking about the purpose and process behind remembering.