Douglas P Collins
CINEMA OF THE HOLOCAUST
Too much information ? The barely watchable aspect of the only too visible. Is there not present in the films of the Holocaust embarrassment about the resources of cinema, the admission of a haplessness of art in general before the requirement to protest the agencies of mass death ? Is there a final incompatibility of form and topic ? Representation before this enormity is often struck with self-restraint, pressed by need for an indirection of expression. The composer Hans Krása wrote a Holocaust opera, Brundibár, that takes the form of a fairy tale, in which children defeat a preposterous bear. The cartoonist Art Spiegelman portrays the Jews as mice struggling against an alarming gang of cats. In his novel Watership Down, Robert Adams depicts martyred Jews as hunted rabbits. Is the cinema of the Holocaust similarly touched by need for decorum that is anything but a denial?
Class readings : Elie Wiesel, Night Primo Levi, Survivor of Auschwitz W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz
Films to be viewed in class include: Shoah (Lanzmann) Shindler’s List (Spielberg) Night and Fog (Renais) Kapo (Pontcorvo) La Rafle (Bosch) Au Revoir les enfants (Malle) The Sorrow and the Pity (Ophuls)
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