Sara Polley’s Stories We Tell: The Refracted Subject
Department of Literature and Modern Languages
University of Hawai'i Press
Sarah Polley’s documemoir Stories We Tell (2013) stretches the boundaries of the memoir genre while adding a meta-twist to the documentary film. It does so by documenting her personal journey to investigate her muddled parentage through the lens of artifacts and interviews with family members and friends, and by foregrounding the director and filmmaking process. With deft editing and a postmodern method of approaching her subject, the director balances multiple perspectives to arrive at an approximation of the “truth” concerning her deceased mother’s shadow life and its impact on her family, and more significantly, on Polley’s own refracted identity. By combining fictional elements with her self-reflexive filmmaking, Polley highlights the degree to which the self that is represented in, and produced by, the film is a dynamic, ongoing performance constructed in relationship to others.
Waites, K. J. (2015). Sara Polley’s Stories We Tell: The Refracted Subject. University of Hawai'i Press, 38 (4), 543-555. https://doi.org/10.1353/bio.2016.0004