Visible Evidence XXI, New Delhi, India

New Delhi, India, December 11th to 14

India International Centre 40, Max Mueller Marg. Conference is Co-hosted by Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia.

DECEMBER, 13th, 2014
Seminar Room 3

Time :11.30am-1.00pm

 Documentary/Violence: Trauma, testimony, index, performance and memory

Communities and trauma in South American documentary films about political militancy and state terrorism

Dr Clara Garavelli, University of Leicester (UK)

Regarding the Pain of Others: Short Experimental Argentine Documentaries on
the Dictatorship and its Aftermaths

Since the end of the military dictatorship in Argentina at the beginning of the 1980s,
there has been a vast amount of cultural production devoted to raising awareness of
the human rights abuses that occurred during those dark years. Whereas many of
these productions have been widely studied, there are yet areas of study and works
still waiting to be analyzed and discussed. Such is the case of those productions
located at the interstices of art and cinema: short experimental videos that employ
documentary modes and do not recur to narrative structures. Their ways of dealing
with the representation of violence and the traumatic past are partly connected with the
proliferation of new technologies and with the growth of new ways of experiencing the
moving image beyond the traditional film theatre. Bearing this in mind, this paper aims
to briefly explore how the works of Graciela Taquini, Gabriela Golder, Julieta Hanono,
Andrés Denegri, Alejandro Gómez Tolosa, Carlos Trilnick and Gustavo Galuppo
explore new ways of dealing with memory and with the violence generated by the
repressive past whilst attempting to challenge the traditional documentary mode.

Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli, Soka University of America

Community activism and documentary film in Argentina: documenting the disappearance of victims of state terrorism in street flagstones.

Since the late 1950s Latin American political documentary film has been at the forefront of innovation. Argentine filmmaker, Fernando Birri, of the Santa Fé Documentary School, presided over his students as they carried on their fieldwork, photographing the living conditions of working class families in the slums. The Santa Fé School photographs became a visual script for the filming of the influential film Tire Dié (1958). The nature of Birri’s collaboration with his students, informed the production strategies of other important film collectives that followed (such as Grupo Cine Liberacion and Cine de la Base). Shortly after the popular revolt of 2001 in Argentina, documentary filmmakers returned to these collaborative models to document demonstrations in the country and the prosecution of perpetrators of genocide. In my presentation, I will analyze Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina’s El futuro es nuestro [The future is ours] (2014), a documentary series that reclaims the history of the forced disappearances of high school students during the dictatorship. The second film under consideration is Eran de colores [They were made of colors] (2012), a video project directed by students of the Nicolás Avellaneda High School in Buenos Aires that exhumes the identity and life stories of members of the student union that were
disappeared. This short film concludes with flagstones being installed in the sidewalk in front of the school made by students and volunteers from the community. The flagstones mark the birth, and disappearance of alumni. To conclude, I will discuss Carmen Guarini’s Calles de la memoria [Streets of memory] (2012), a film that delves into the social significance of the labyrinth of repression, torture, and disappearance that the flagstones represent, and the efforts of activists and the community to memorialize the lives of political activists.

Kristi M. Wilson, Soka University of America

Force and Meaning: Political Hauntings in three contemporary Brazilian films

According to Avery Gordon, sociological hauntings can take on a range of forms
from lost personal artifacts, to decaying archival material, to people who live in the
wake of deprivation and repression. This essay explores the idea of memory and hauntings from the political past in three 2012 Brazilian films Neighboring Sounds / O Som Ao Redor (directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho), Dino Cazzola: a filmography of Brasília (directed by Andrea Prates and Cleisson Vidal), and Elena (directed by Petra Costa). This trio of films represents collisions between the force of the past and its meaning in the present across a range of Brazilian chronoscapes. Dino Cazolla was the Dzviga Vertov of Brasilia; a man with a movie camera whose cinematic eye documented the rapid creation and life of the nation’s new capital, including the traumatic rupture from democracy to dictatorship. Dino Cazzola: a filmography of Brasilia documents his life addresses the problem of preserving the type of expansive memory embodied in his decaying film archive. Neighboring Sounds explores notions of past and present violence under the surface of the increasingly privatized and policed urban landscape of Recife, a Portuguese settlement with a painful history of slavery and sugar barons. Elena is a poetic documentary about loss, memory and exile (from home and self). Born in hiding at the tail end of the dictatorship to Marxist activists, Costa uses her own personal archive of diaries, home-videos and voice recordings to conjure the inconsolable memory of her sister’s suicide in New York. These films artfully explore ways in which the Brazilian homeland has become unfamiliar — through obsessive fears about “security” and class conflict in Recife; anxiety over a decaying film archive and the potential loss of Brasilia’s tumultuous history; or the inconsolable memory of a family that surfaces in exile.

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