Video

The Thompson Stories

Almerinda Travassos

2007, 19:50 minutes, colour, English

TAPECODE 353.04

Thompson is far away and very cold. When my family and I arrived there it was only a 7-year-old mining town-literally carved out of the northern bush. The Thompson Stories presents a personal narrative of my experience of emigrating from Azores, Portugal to Thompson Manitoba in 1963. The story of the dislocated immigrant is a universal one. My family’s experience and mine was further impacted by the remoteness of the land and absence of community and language. Thus, the story is a collection of impressions and memories of a six-year-old child.

The Thompson Stories are in essence, a docu-memory infused with visual fogginess and emotional confusion. The film is structured as a series of memory vignettes. Each one focuses on a particular episode that contributed to a feeling of alienation in my new home. The emphasis is on remembered perceptions that come to symbolize, in a child’s mind, a larger rationale for understanding her new world. The film features myself, my family and Thompson, through impressionistic tableaus and footage of the landscape. The landscape is more than a background for the story – it is interwoven into the foggy recollections of my memory. The video cycles through events/memories that are emblematic of significant impressions.

By documenting fragments of memories, The Thompson Stories validates places and memories that have been frozen in time.

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