The first research paper of the new semester will be given by Dr Matilda Mroz on Tuesday 14 October at 4pm in Glyndwr A at 4pm. All are welcome.
Framing, Visibility and Looking Back: Cinema on the Fringes of Holocaust Memory
Dr Matilda Mroz (Greenwich University
This paper explores three films (Ida, Aftermath, and Birth Place) that revolve around scenes of unearthing the bones of Jewish Holocaust victims from the Polish rural landscape. As victims of Polish, rather than German, violence, the individuals in question had remained on the fringes of Holocaust memory, the true nature of their deaths repressed and denied for decades. The paper draws on an archaeological model of cultural memory, in which cinema is posited as a privileged medium through which to search through the layers of ‘rubble’, the erasures and silences, created by cultural dislocations and ruptures (Laura Marks, 2000). The films’ intense focus on the earth as a material archive allows a reading of the rural landscapes, following David Martin-Jones (2013), as ‘facified’, as an affective landscape that ‘looks at us’ and speaks of an occluded past. At the same time, the films mark the limits of this communication, bringing us up against the obtuse materiality of formless earth and decayed bone. The paper argues that the films thus raise important questions relating to framing and visibility, both in terms of the framing of the visible in onscreen space, and the attempt to frame a meaningful narrative against a background or in a situation that is potentially indifferent and even hostile to meaning, that deframes and threatens to nullify the primacy of human existence.
Swansea Univesity’s Department of Languages, Translation and Communication consists of the following academic sections: Film Studies, French, German, Italian, Media Studies, Spanish and Translation, each with its own research staff and students.