Sound Holds the Distance Travelled is the title of the short animated film I’m creating in collaboration with writer and artist Sadhbh Lawlor as part of my BA (Hons) Animation studies at Colaiste Dhulaigh. It is a three minute film based on Episode Five of the Melancholic Wife and her Perpetrating Husband comic series that we co-created.
Here is a link to the animatic for the film and the storyboards are displayed below.
The production process blog can be found here.
The Melancholic Wife re-emerges back into the real world, the ‘unromantic walls of her real life’. She moves through the room, giving us an opportunity to see the world she inhabits, the objects that make up her life. She turns on a lamp, she has gained illumination and she reaches for her journal to record it, ‘trying to hold on to the nuances of her transmutations’.
The lights come on and the Melancholic Wife must pick herself up off the floor and contend with the darkness of her melancholy again. She has managed to bring one of the ghosts of her former self along with her into this new arena of contention, the ghost floats free, still dancing. The Melancholic Wife draws the spotlight into her, assimilating its energy inside herself. She uses this energy to access her creative self expression, beginning to dance, move and project the light into the darkness, taking ownership for the moment of the space. The light, the white transcends the black, the Melancholic Wife and the ghost disappear in the brilliance as they join together. She pauses for a moment, honouring the coming together, she can bring the lesson which the ghost had to teach her with her back into the unromantic walls of her real life through the door which appears from the last vestiges of light.
The Melancholic Wife has escaped the sound waves of remembered shame into a new space in her memory. Ghosts of her teenage self appear above her, expressing freedom and joy. She spreads her arms in an attempt to embrace them, to embrace herself. But the shadow of her shame is still with her. It rises, pulling her back down into the depths of her despair. The Melancholic Wife reaches out and grasps one of the ghosts, taking it with her as she is consumed. The shadow grows, submerging not only her but the entire screen.
The Melancholic Wife’s foot impacts the wooden floor and the reverberations pulse down upon her, pushing her low and causing her to run to escape the pressure of the remembered embarrassment.
We travel into the memory ignited by the Melancholic Wife’s dancing, it was a time in her teenage life when the floors of her home underwent a transition from carpet to wooden floorboards, changing the dynamic of her previously personal dancing.
The Melancholic Wife enters onto a white screen and begins to dance. As she turns back on herself floorboards rise from the white space below her becoming a floor beneath which creaks and overwhelms her with their noise and darkness.
The Melancholic Wife uses dance to cope with her dark and troubled thoughts. But within her is a memory of dancing that feels embarassing and challenges her coping skills and the film will chart the journey through this memory. The rising floorboards of this first sequence represent the difficult memory rising from her subconscious. She is unable to fight off the hard feelings and she falls, descending into the void of shame.