• May 29, 2024

What we learned from Little Stone in My Pocket: Family Inquiries in My Pocket

This unique and whimsical Latvian animation tells a teary-laugh, autobiographical family story. With warm painting style and authentic accent, director Signe Baumane tells about the growth of individuals in the family and the continuation of several generations of life, which runs through the changes of The Times. She imagines words with imaginative images and interprets her personal works in a highly stylized style. Film, as a kind of art, is closely linked to life. It infiltrates political history into the story of a family growing up, such as Iranian-born artist Mara Satrapy’s I Grew Up in Iran. What’s touching about them is the chemistry of traditional vision and personal experience, and of course, the neutralization of humor and the honesty of talking.

First, the discovery of family history of hidden genes

The director based the film on the real-life struggles of five women in the family (including her) with depression and suicide. Family memories, metaphors and symbols, like neither Yuri Nor stein’s Tale of Tales.

“I Grew Up in Iran” tells the story of his life from the protagonist’s point of view. Maryanne, a small character in the film, has her own rules for survival, returning to the arms of her parents, seeking emotional comfort, settling down in marriage, or enriching herself in the process of learning the ocean. Maryanne went through various ways to survive, but most of them were disappointed. Finally, she went abroad again and immigrated to another country. Maryanne Satrapy tells stories with clear narrative logic. The way she describes the joys and sorrows of life is warm and humorous. The audience can feel the emotion with tears in their laughter after reading.

“Little Rock in My Pocket” is also a child’s vision, and the director tells the story as a participant. The book begins with Grandmother Anna’s youth and the trials of life, and follows the lives of several generations. New York, April 1949. The film begins with humor about the 10,000 ways humans can die, imagining humans as rabbits and setting up potential obstacles to success. Flashback to Latvia in the 1920s, the beautiful and unusual Anna follows her father’s instruction that “knowledge brings opportunity,” and is industrious and intelligent. She falls in love with an enterprising entrepreneur with a brilliant idea, but the businessman and political fanatic, more than 30 years her senior, does not make her life as expected. The Depression hit their careers, and Anna was confined to a secluded cabin in the woods by her jealous husband, raising eight children in a weather-beaten life. Anna wanted a divorce, but her family was against it. So marital difficulties were a factor in Anna’s depression, Signe Baumane turned to his grandmother Anna in his quest to find the genes for depression in his family. Strong Anna survived all the wind and waves, but not through the brain level. With his unique humorous language and colorful and imaginative animation, the director transforms the melancholy problems that have plagued his family and himself into a bizarre and vivid visual feast.

Unlike the straightforward narrative of the title of “I Grew Up in Iran”, “Little Rock in My Pocket” is metaphorical, representing the depression gene in the family. With the changing times, far-away setting and strong autobiographical color, Signe Bauman’s life experience is basically the same as that of Mara Satrapy. Its intimacy lies not in its religious atmosphere but in its universal adolescent rebelliousness, which is girlish in its loveliness. People in this world, countries, women have too much in common, many experiences are common, the revolution in memory is the carnival of childhood, the various expressions of adults, words and deeds in the eyes of children some very funny, some cannot understand and empathy, and imperceptible in the growth. Just like little Magi in Iran, the reform and economic development of the country are all in the memory of the individual. The details of life are engraved in thousands of images, among which the feeling of no dependence and no ownership deep in the soul is so similar.

Second, audio-visual language

As a female film that goes through her growing up experience, the director combined stop-motion animation with traditional hand-painting to leave her hometown with childhood memories, family warmth and cultural identity, but also let her freedom restricted and survive the hardships of the land. The style of the film implies traditional art and modern art. In the picture, the personal experience of life is expressed from multiple angles, the surreal scene is freely used, and the traditional and grotesque techniques complement each other.

Little Rock in My Pocket carries an innocent girl’s perspective and femininity. The comic style contains both traditional art and modern art. The parts that blend unique imagination are like paintings, and the rhythm is as bright as the line rhythm of patterns in Arabic art. A combination of hand-drawn animation and stop-motion animation presents personal growth, family history, and the changes of The Times. The Latvian female director tells a story about the continuation of life and self-redemption. Although the Latvian English narration is ramble from beginning to end, it does not affect the viewing process. Because the whimsical idea and rich color is very attractive,The film was inspired by animators Jan Svankmajer and Bill Plympton. As an animator, she chose to visualize these words with imaginative images.

Different from “I Grew Up in Iran”, the narrated part is a flat side expression, compared with the personal experience in the latter picture, which is presented from multiple perspectives. The stone is extended through the perspective of one person. Iran uses black and white pictures to show the color of Iranian women, so that an Iranian woman’s rebellious liberation in self-mockery; the stone, through its bright color changes, creates a family secret history. The animation works well with visual metaphors, weird images and dark humor to wrap up such a heavy topic. At the same time, the audience can also see art, women, history, nature, adventure and other elements from this animation. It’s also about women, and it’s about making mental illness less scary in a lovely way. The highly imaginative images are interesting in combination with the stream-of-consciousness English narration that runs through the film.

Igne Baumane wrote, directed, produced, painted and narrated the entire film himself, in front of and behind the scenes. It was done by hand, which is amazing in the computer age. In Iran, painters are mostly dissidents of the state, but their images are traditional. The detailed paintings in “I Grew Up in Iran” are enough to show the director’s love for an 800-year-old tradition of painting in Iran and in Central and West Asia in general. In “Little Stone in My Pocket” you can see a fantasy world of red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, purple, and pious painters who spent their lives painting God’s vision of the world. Color antagonism and intolerance are the background color of that special era, and also the character of the author. There are also some surreal scenes that are very smooth and clever. Grandma is the goddess in this film, and she has a wonderful habit of always putting jasmine petals in her bra so that she gets scented, and the film ends with jasmine petals flying. The director uses the abstract nature of painting to give her story a universal magic, and her musings on development and democracy are enough to capture the imagination of all.

Rich in animation and with a soothing soundtrack, Little Rock in My Pocket tells the story of not just one girl’s growth, but generations of growth. It was an extraordinary period of growing up, and this autobiographical comic-book movie has taken on civilizational troughs it can barely bear. This is a political or literary film, the light comic form cannot contain the heavy core, so the author has to intersperse such words in the film to encourage the audience’s courage: “Go back to the cowardly idea in the womb, you made a choice, be loyal to it”, “to live sane and vigorous, is to do and strive every day.”…

When we take things too hard, we look in our pockets to see if there are some small stones. It reminds you that your loved ones will always be there for you, helps you get back to your breath, and allows love to grow in your heart. This little rock will help you always keep an enlightened mind, overcome obstacles and overcome depression.


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