Extended Essay – Notable Quotes

One of the interesting and challenging aspects of writing an academic essay is extracting pertinent and valuable quotes from the research. They should be insights into my chosen subject matter and themes which illuminate or contend with the view which I’m attempting to convey. I feel like I’ve found some very valuable and worthwhile quotes which would be beneficial to share here.

‘The essay is always concerned with something already formed, or at best, with something that has
been; it is part of its essence that it does not draw something new out of an empty vacuum, but only
gives a new order to such things as once lived. And because he only newly orders them, not forming
something new out of the formless, he is bound to them; he must always speak “the truth” about
them, find, that is the expression for their essence.’
(G. Lukacs, Soul and Form 1974)

I am intending to use this quote at the beginning of my essay. I feel it gives a good introduction to the importance of an essay film creator owning their subjectivity. The essay here is seen as a reflection or deepening of the subject matter it is preoccupied with.

“characteristics of the essay film include the blending of fact and fiction, the mixing of artand
documentary-film styles, the foregrounding of subjective points of view, a concentration on
public life, a tension between acoustic and visual discourses, and a dialogic encounter with
(Nora M. Alter and Timothy Corrigan, Essays on the Essay Film 2017)

“ability to carry on a continual dialogue with other works of literature and other authors.
It does not merely answer, correct, silence or extend a previous work, but informs
and is continually informed by the previous work”
(M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination 1981)

“conceptual, psychopolitical, and representational dance with wolves, the drawn-out
imperative of the film is then to answer the silence that follows the death of the dogs, to
unmask an aesthetics of violence…to make the present of current events a far more
conceptually complex and vexed place for the subject experiencing that present as a past.”
(Timothy Corrigan, The Essay Film: From Montaigne after Marker 2011)

“science affects us by its contents, art by its forms; science offers us facts and
relationships between facts, but art offers us souls and destinies”
(G. Lukacs, Soul and Form 1974)

“one of the key elements of the essay film is the direct address of the receiver,
and voiceover is the most simple and successful way of actualizing such address”
(Laura Rascaroli, The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments 2008)

“The essayist allows the answers to emerge somewhere else, precisely in the position
occupied by the embodied spectator. The meaning of the film is constructed via this
dialogue, in which the spectator has an important part to play; meanings are presented by the
speaking subject as a subjective, personal meditation, rather than as objective truth. It is this
subjective move, this speaking in the first person that mobilizes the subjectivity of the
(Laura Rascaroli, The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments 2008)

“Humanism is, indeed, implicit in the essay structure—the assumption of a certain
unity of the human experience, which allows two subjects to meet and communicate on the
basis of this shared experience. The two subject positions, the “I” and the “you,” determine
and shape one another.”
(Laura Rascaroli, The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments 2008)

Main Film Title

Trying to create a title for the film that represented its themes and complexity was a challenge. My initial thoughts were quite obvious with titles like The Dance, but this seemed quite on the nose. Brainstorming it resulted in some more nuanced ideas; Untethered Tread, playing with becoming lost in a memory through the sound of a footstep, and tread/thread; Tread and Temper, again referencing tread/thread, following a thread, unravelling with the alliteration of temper to evoke the emotional challenge; Soft Floor/Bare Boards, softness/toughness, flow between the two. The title that I hit on as seeming most evocative and descriptive was Sound Holds the Distance Travelled. Referring to the power of sound as the catalyst for the Melancholic Wife’s journey back into her memory and the temporal distance between her present and past self. The whole of this journey is held in the sound waves.

Alternative Opening Sequence

In trying to create an opening to the film I was conscious of wanting to represent the creative heritage from which the film has evolved. The themes and subject matter explored within the film began in a web-comic strip called Splitting Borders developed with my creative partner Sadhbh Lawlor. We made our own handmade books of these strips which brought a tactile element to the work. From there we moved to short stories, again making our own books from the work. The film now represents a deepening of the work and with this opening I wanted to make a nod to that lineage.

The opening consists of a montage of photographs displaying the physical artifacts of the previous work.

I’ve maintained the black and white aesthetic of the film in the opening to maintain a visual relationship between the two mediums of photographs and drawings.
For the transition into the main film the camera zooms into the notebook, representative of where the work begun, as written words on a page.

Opening Sequence Reference

Part of the inspiration for the new opening sequence which uses photographs of some of my previous work came from the opening titles of To Kill a Mockingbird. I felt that this opening sequence was very effective in giving a sense of the world in which the story would take place. It uses objects to represent each of the characters, their personalities, their age, their preoccupations in a meaningful way.

Closing Sequence

For the closing sequence we felt it would be potent to use visuals that illustrated the ‘unromantic walls of her real life’ These include representations of the Melancholic Wife’s furniture, bookshelves and many elements of her creative process.

Opening Sequence

For the opening sequence we have decided to try and use design imagery that already exists from the comic work.

Sadhbh had the idea of the camera following the line across a long pan which the character portraits emerge from and the titles sit above.