Documentary Animation Analysis–“Le Clitoris”

Documentary Animation Analysis

“Le Clitoris” by Lori Malépart-Traversy


“Le Clitoris” by Lori Malépart-Traversy is a short film that addresses the subject of female sexuality in a humorous and lighthearted way.  Malépart-Traversy personifies the sexual organ (the main character) by turning it’s roots into legs and giving it a simple face and small arms.  The narrator takes us through the film, while the main character reacts to every piece of new information presented.

Created using gouache on paper, the soft palette of pinks and greys mimic the overall soft tone of the animation. The use of line is minimal, and the overall presentation is simple and straightforward. In this instance, form and content work quite well together.

By making a cute-ish animation, rather than a live-action film, Melépart is able to achieve a few things: First, the information can be presented in a way that is funny, yet informative, and suitable for a large spectrum of ages.  For instance, this animation could be a great asset for teaching young people about sex and reproductive organs.  Secondly, because animation does not have to abide by the laws of anatomy, Melépart is able to remove the clitoris from the body, personify it, and allow it to walk around.  To shoot this with live footage would likely be grotesque and off-putting.  Thirdly, because the clitoris is personified, the viewer can perceive is as an actual character, rather than a body part. This allows the viewer to potentially make an emotional connection to the character and feel a bit of empathy.  Lastly, Melépart is able to address the male influence in “discovering” the clitoris throughout history without being too sarcastic or didactic.

Because  “Le Clitoris” is presented in such a gentle way,  the viewer can easily learn about female anatomy, and get a brief history lesson about the last 500+years of patriarchy.

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