Fathers and Daughters: Two Animated Short Films


This presentation will be about the use of short films in medical education and will demonstrate their potential for the teaching of psychodynamic concepts relevant to physicians, trainees and medical students.  

Knowledge in this area is especially helpful when dealing with dying patients and their families, but also for deepening an understanding of conflicts between parents and children under any circumstances. 

To illustrate, I will show two short, animated films, both without dialog: “Daughter,” written and directed by Daria Kascheeva (Czech Republic, 2019) and “Papa,” by Natalie Labarre (USA, 2017).  Both films depict deeply problematic relationships between a father and a daughter and how, in the end, they are resolved. “Daughter” deals with a traumatic moment in a young girl’s life and its enduring consequences for her relationship with her father and the course of her own life. “Papa” presents a father-daughter relationship that is continually re-negotiated throughout the daughter’s childhood. 

After the films are screened, detailed walk-throughs of the action will be presented, particularly for “Daughter,” with pauses at each step for explanation and interpretation.  For educational purposes, the interpretations need not necessarily conform exactly to the intention of a film’s writer and director.   Either way, the device of detailed walk-throughs can be pedagogically useful because in short films, as in short stories, every gesture is meaningful, but much can be missed after only a single viewing.  It is by engaging students’ emotions as well as intellect that short films are most impactful.