The One-Minute Memoir is just under one minute long, but it does express a personal opinion and struggle like that of a written memoir. It includes a series of separate, but stylistically and emotionally connected, stories (each approximately a minute in length–hence the title). A number of artists express themselves, tell their stories, and share what it was like for them growing up in different locations around the world. Director Joan C. Gratz has gathered a number of unique storytellers to present audiences with new ways of viewing the world and understanding the difficulties of those that surround us.
The first of the many stories (Blah Relief) is told by Chris Hinton. He uses the simple idea of painting a picture to express how difficult and unrewarding some things in life can be, but to further express that sometimes stopping and looking in a mirror is just as important as pressing on. As a man attempts to paint a picture, he finds that it is not as easy as it might seem. Furthermore, he makes the determination that it is not the picture that is the issue, but him. While this is not necessarily the message that is present in the other shorts within Cratz’s The One-Minute Memoir, it possesses a similar tone and inevitably expresses the thoughts and feelings of millions of humans every day. In less than one minute, Hinton is able to throw a series of thoughts and ideas at his viewers and have them understand, without dialogue and no set to speak of, the importance of self-value, responsibility, and perseverance.
Further down the line, Bill Plympton narrates a story about his youth and his passion for drawing. He tells the world of how in love he was with the idea and the practice, having it essentially consume him in boyhood. That is until a unique set of circumstances presented by his mother. He, then, very quickly, never looked at drawing the same again. This story, entitled A True Story, again, emphasizes the depth of mankind through art. It opens the world’s eyes to the different points of view of those around them and expresses the fact that, while we are all different, we tend to find common ground every now and again, and have more in common than we might originally think.
“…express themselves, tell their stories, and share what it was like for them growing up in different locations around the world.”
One-Minute Memoir, in many ways, dives into the idea of the duality of man. Gratz, with the help of the many talented and expressive writer-directors, constructs a series of small stories into one overarching idea that men can possess more than one talent, more than one aspiration, and more than one understanding of a subject. She tells audiences what they already know to be true, but are not always comfortable coming to terms with. He allows them the opportunity to, like the character in Blah Relief, look in the mirror and evaluate more than just their accomplishments, but themselves. It does not matter if one is ten or eighty years old; there is a story, an expression, and a lesson to be learned from watching One-Minute Memoir. Using animation that most casual fans of animation are not familiar with, Gratz, and the rest, open the audience’s eyes to new forms of art and expression–and, furthermore, a new understanding of the world around them.
With the exception of the somewhat fractured narrative (due to the fact that eleven different stories are told from eleven different points of view in less than sixteen minutes), Gratz’s One-Minute Memoir does exactly what he might have hoped it would. It enlightens its audience, and it helps prepare them for a world that is far from perfect and will certainly put up a fight. The unique, possibly a bit subpar animation allows audiences a new look into the world of animation, expression, and perseverance. One-Minute Memoir reaches its audiences and is a truly entertaining piece of art from beginning to end.
"…animation allows audiences a new look into the world of animation, expression and perseverance."