Politics of Animation
In this course we will examine films in an emerging international genre known as animated documentary. Animation plays a surprisingly influential role in nonfiction films, as in a famous segment in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. More recently, some directors have relied solely on animation to make films with claims to telling the truth. Often politically controversial and intensely personal, these works challenge traditional definitions of cinematic form. Why is animation so persuasive? To answer this question we will explore the urban origins of early cartoons, Disney’s global hegemony, Warner Brothers’ wartime propaganda, Soviet agitprop, and the diverse ideological perspectives of limited animation in Japanese anime and American television programming. With this preparation in hand, we will analyze several animated non-fictions in their cultural and political contexts, including the artworks of William Kentridge (South Africa), Barefoot Gen (Japan), Persepolis (France/Iran), and Waltz with Bashir (Israel). 3 hrs. lect./ 3hrs. screen.