In the award-winning animated film Mother, Taiwanese animator and graphic designer Aco Chang presents the warmth of maternal love in a different light, showing how too often it can be taken for granted. “As a child, I inconsiderately tore apart a ball that my mother had made for me,” she said. “This memory heavily weighs on me, stabbing at me, like a needle in my heart.”
Based on this past memory, Chang’s touching animation presents the shifting power dynamic between mother and daughter. In the film’s opening scene, the ball that the mother literally produces from her chest is seemingly symbolic of her love, a love that the daughter brazenly rips apart. The emotional short film is meant to be both an apology and a form of catharsis. The film comes full circle and concludes with the daughter, now grown up, reciprocating her mother’s love through the symbolic act of handing her a ball that’s identical to the one that she ripped apart as a child.
Chang’s introspective look at this childhood memory opened her eyes, allowing for much-needed self-reflection. Her symbology-filled animation is an attempt to find solace and rectify her regretful actions. From the moment of birth to the struggle for independence and power, the love that a mother has for her child remains unwavering – like a stream, it flows on quietly, a life-sustaining source of endless affection.