My Mother’s Eyes: A Soulful Animated Short Film About Loss and the Unbreakable Bonds of Love
Simple, tenderly expressive line drawings unspool a complex, inexpressible universe of feeling.
By Maria Popova
Kepler may not have revolutionized our understanding of the universe had his illiterate mother not ignited his love of astronomy by taking him to see a comet as a six-year-old boy in 1536. “Every man or woman who is sane, every man or woman who has the feeling of being a person in the world, and for whom the world means something, every happy person, is in infinite debt to a woman,” the trailblazing psychologist Donald Winnicott observed four centuries later in his landmark manifesto for motherhood. That debt is perhaps the tenderest, strongest, most complex thread on the enchanted loom of existence.
Animator, illustrator, and director Jenny Wright was midway through her university studies at Central Saint Martin’s College in London when her mother died. In consonance with Borges’s insistence that “all that happens to us… is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art,” she transmuted her grief — that slippery, noxious, all-pervading mercury of sorrow which words can never fully hold — into a soulful animated short film titled “My Mother’s Eyes,” which became her graduation thesis. Simple, tenderly expressive line drawings unspool a complex, inexpressible universe of feeling as this deeply personal memorial unlatches the floodgates to a universal human emotion.
Complement with some beautiful advice to a daughter from pioneering political philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, who died birthing her own daughter, then revisit poet Meghan O’Rourke’s sensitive and trenchant meditation on how to live with loss, composed after her mother’s death.
Published January 22, 2020