CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Sara Polley’s Stories We Tell: The Refracted Subject

Department

Department of Literature and Modern Languages

Publication Date

Fall 8-2015

Publication Title

University of Hawai'i Press

ISSN

1529-1456

Volume

38

Issue/No.

4

First Page

543

Last Page

555

Abstract

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.

DOI

10.1353/bio.2016.0004

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