What is it about?

Honess Roe's is the first monograph about the subgenre of documentary film called "animated documentary" or "animentary." The review summarizes the author's main claims about what makes animentary different from live-action documentaries.

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Why is it important?

The direct link between the recording of a reality that unfolds in front of the camera has always been considered a cornerstone of what characterizes documentary film. But animation breaks this "indexical" connection between camera and profilmic reality. Does this not make animated documentary a self-contradictory phenomenon? Honess Roe holds that the breaking of this indexical link is not only not a problem, but actually bestows opportunities on animentary that are absent, or less strongly present, in live-action documentary.


Honess Roe's monograph is a pioneering book. My one serious reservation is her view of animentary "liberating" documentary from the "indexical bind." By contrast, I propose that the indexical bind remains indispensable, but shifts from the visual track to the audio-track -- specifically to spoken language.

Dr Charles Forceville
Universiteit van Amsterdam

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This page is a summary of: Animated Documentary, Journal of Pragmatics, November 2015, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2015.09.008.
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