A narrator talks about one of his crushes during university. A beautiful bright young woman who turned out to be mentally ill and later commited suicide. Her memory still haunts the narrator’s mind.
Michael Jay Tucker’s experimental animation ‘She Who Flew’ is like a ride on the trail of thoughts. Words behind visuals build up into an intense narration of memories, a recall of past events and the resurrection of her face, her presence. The simple drawings gain an obsessive flavour, hard – if not impossible – to shake off. The narrator’s (also one of the main characters) elaborate knowledge of the woman’s story and situation determines him to understand her better than most other people around her but also makes him have second thoughts about his ‘crush’, when she starts showing interest in him, as her mental instability pushes the narrator to self-defence and determines him to eventually reject her in order to protect himself.
Fear is a trigger for loneliness in ‘She Who Flew’. A character we only know from the narrator’s telling strangely triggers so much more empathy than the narrator himself. It is after all a story about ‘her’, and not about ‘him’. She shapes up as a person struggling with schizophrenic visions and mirages, her company being refused by others out of fear and ending up lonely, eventually being judged for a suicidal act that in the end might have not been a suicide after all, but an unfortunate result of her visions.
Loneliness is very acute in Michael Jay Tucker’s short film. Fear is definitely a generator of it. Together, the two lead to marginalisation and isolation of unknown outcomes. ‘She Who Flew’ is a profound insight of these two emotions stirring up feelings of regret and pity.
A slight nuance of denial of his youth’s crush, despite the intense dedication of his thoughts to it, reflect not only the deeper feelings of the narrator’s character towards the young woman but also a repressed regret of not having engaged with the woman on a deeper level after all.
Michael Jay Tucker’s ‘She Who Flew’ is a surprisingly humane animation, and emotionally very engaging. It’s an experimental that takes one on a distant ride in pursuit of memories.