The transmutation of testimony in Cling, Najman and Finkiel's Aftermath films

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Abstract:

During this last decade a large number of testimonial films, dedicated to the survivors of the Shoah, have been prompted by the same urge: the revisionist and negationist schemes regarding the Holocaust and the vulnerable state of the aging eyewitness. Distancing themselves from monumental enterprises - like Steven Spielberg's Visual History Foundation - these works summon the elaboration of a specific testimonial pact that provides at once a space of transference between survivor and interviewer, and implies a special quality of listening and empathy. Such are among many others, La Mmoire est-elle soluble dans leau? Is Memory soluble into Water?(Najman, 1996) the brothers Cling's Hritage (1996), as well as Emmanuel Finkiel's triptych which includes the short Madame Jacques sur la CroisetteMadame Jacques on La Croisette (1995), the feature Voyages (1999), and the document Casting (2001). However, at stake in these various works is the deliberate attempt to probe differently the limits of documentary representation, to reaffirm the unremitting power of fiction, and to celebrate the transfiguration of the real through a personal, creative vision.

Keywords: I-productions; Shoah; interactive genre; testimonial pact; the Aftermath; witnessing

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/sfci.5.3.195/1

Affiliations: Tel-Aviv University.

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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  • Studies in French Cinema is the only journal published in English devoted exclusively to French cinema, providing scholars, teachers and students from around the world with a consistent quality of academic investigation across the full breadth of the subject. Contributors scrutinise the cultural context of various works and the diverse stylistic approaches that infuse the visual fabric of this genre.
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