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Remembering the present: Iñaki Arteta's Trece Entre Mil and the transmission of grief

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Amongst recent documentary films portraying the Basque conflict, Iñaki Arteta's Trece Entre Mil/Thirteen Amongst a Thousand (2005) stands out as a significant contribution to the construction of collective memory. Its compilation of testimonies from thirteen families left bereaved by political violence develops a sustained, cumulative reflection on the nature of grief and personal loss. At the same time, in its seeking out of the communal via the individual and in its engagement with acutely contemporary issues, the film also constitutes a courageous political intervention, one that bears comparison with the testimony-based documentary work of Peter Davis, Claude Lanzmann and Marcel Ophüls. The film's harrowing interview sequences exploit subtle variations in filmic texture, interwoven with fragments of home video and snatches of news media coverage, to achieve what Lanzmann conceptualizes as 'transmission'; that is, for Arteta's audience, interpellated as members of civil society, to gain an empathetic, empirical appreciation of the human dimension of political violence.
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Keywords: Basque conflict; Iñaki Arteta; political documentary; terrorism; transmission; victims

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Glamorgan

Publication date: 30 January 2012

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