Cheers, Carmel. The physical world (live-action) is augmented with hand-drawn animation, which in theory creates a distinction between objectivity and subjectivity, but in practice the animation largely drowns out the live-action that itself already has a processed look by, among other things, clearly having mostly a lower framerate than the usual 24 fps, making clear distinctions difficult or even impossible. The world becomes thought, you could say. Even the natural limitation that comes with having to translate a person's thoughts and feelings into real-time film-form is a virtue here, the viewer doesn't have time to process every frame fully, mirroring how the protagonist's feelings and thoughts aren't all fully conscious, even the most subconscious thoughts are visualized even though they aren't likely to register much for the viewer due to their shortness or smallness on screen.
I would say that this is about as far as you can go in recreating a person's subjectivity with film, at least without slowing down the world to give plenty of time to analyze each moment which can have some truth to it - time is relative, of course - but in practice I find it to be a lie in most films, it's usually an artifice that takes the factor of time completely out of the equation, in reality the oncoming train doesn't wait for you to finish your thoughts.
I think words-on-screen was definitely the way to go here, as opposed to a voice-over, cinema's default method of communicating a character's verbal thoughts, which is a very literal-minded approach that 'Feeling My Way' gets away from. Even when you process your environment and think very much with the use of language they often aren't fully formed sentences and elaborate monologues, because they may not even be fully formed thoughts. So instead you just have individual words and phrases. And you just couldn't use audible words in the same way as text being used here, because like all the other feelings and thoughts sometimes they linger for longer, but sometimes they only pop up for a moment, some are bigger, some are smaller. And not only do they all have a different weight but by their position on screen you also know what the words relate to whereas if it was on the soundtrack it could possibly relate to several things that are on screen at that moment.
With voice-over the inner monologue automatically takes center stage, the visual becomes the augmentation. This way the verbal thoughts and all the less tangible thoughts and feelings are put on the same level, which I find more realistic, even though your eyes naturally are still drawn to the words, which is fair enough, since words tend to represent more conscious thoughts. But thoughts being verbal and feelings being non-verbal I also think is an artificial distinction that would only be reinforced by separating them from the image when putting the words on the soundtrack.
Which is why I think the short does such an exemplary job in recreating subjectivity, cinema's efforts to distinguish itself from literature by completely eschewing text are admirable, but translating the whole range of experiences and thoughts into audio-visuals is just as much a falsification as translating them all into text, all it does is trade the sensorial for the intellectual. Language can't be ignored because thought very much presupposes language, so while cinematically it may not be the most elegant solution for putting you into a character's headspace, it is the most accurate one, creating a close marriage of the word and the visual, where the two become practically inseparable.
We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.
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