Once means forever

Friday 23:20

Co raz to na zawsze

Katarzyna Bińko | 
2023 | 
Poland | 
3:37 mins | 
"Once means forever" is short animated film, which shows us, without delusion, story of young women. Girl who could be any other women. Looking by her's eyes, we will be troubled by her one day. The day which will change her life forever.

Once Means Forever, by Katarzyna Bińko, brings to us the ever present violence against women in Western societies. The three minute short places us within an alienated social context; the animation, devoid of concrete features and appearances, causes us to understand the manifold processes of social alienation at play. In this instance, the choice to represent via animation enlivens us to these inner psychological processes of trauma and self-loss.

Principally, the film alienates us in its harsh tones and sketched images. The electronic soundscape, ever present from the start, evokes a quasi-electronic void with echoes and reverb enhancing the perception of a broad yet suffocating darkened space. So too does the image add to this. By refusing live images and instead using animation there is a distantiation from reality. When the voiceover begins we then understand that this film represents a re-constructed memory. In this light, the images bring to us the re-hashings of events through the trauma born from them. The image and sound thus appear so unreal as to be real in their evocation of a psycho-social memory and space.

Scenes of assault are never pleasant to watch and neither to conceive of. Once Means Forever elides the issue of direct representation first of all through animation, not relying on reconstructions with actors who may or may not suffer as a result of acting a scene such as this, and secondly the physical assault is obscured. Instead, images are suggestive, skirting the act of assault in favour of objects and touch, half remembered in glimpses by our protagonist.

The man who assaults our protagonist then captures a picture of her post-assault. An intriguing notion of fixed photographic images and power comes into play here. If animation elides re-presenting sexual assault then the abuser’s fixation on photographing his victims suggests a need to master his victims not only through physical abuse but through an imagistic fixity. Thus, Once Means Forever enlivened to an understanding of how images, and consequent fixed notions of female subjectivity, play a part in violence against women.