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MEMORIES AND DREAMS

Australia, 1993 (MIFF 1993, Documentaries)

Director: Lynn-Maree Milburn

A simple, albeit dramatic story. A life in fragmented memories, retold and relived in luminous, evocative images.

Visually and aurally overwhelming, this astounding dramatised documentary is a rich retelling of one woman's story — the inspiring tale of Czech-born Johanna Kimla Ocenaskova. Combining animation, period dramatisation, archival footage and elaborate hand-tinting and refilming, animator/director Lynn-Maree Milburn's first solo work is a beautiful, highly original and deeply moving film.

A kind of intimate epic, Memories and Dreams recounts Jo's life journey, through a concentration camp, the loss of her family and other harrowing incidents in the embattled Europe of the 30s and 40s, finally to emerge in a strange new land called Australia.

Disavowing conventional documentary style, the film seems to float in a pool of recollected consciousness, where memory has defined the most important experiences; the real, the symbolic, the ephemeral, and sets them in gripping historical context.

Five years in the making and the result of an elaborate and painstaking production process, Memories and Dreams gathers and builds into a memorable mosaic, mapping out the intense extremes of persistence, loss and personal survival, as endured by an exceptionally passionate and independent spirit.

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