The article is centred on the relationship between visual imaginary and testimonies, the way the former could stand as a momentary and provisional answer to some of the questions underpinning all the existing literature on traumas and testimonies, which have mainly centred on the representability of the un-representable: how to articulate a failed experience, something that is not part of memory itself and which cannot be, or has not yet been, worked through? How to witness an event that by (a certain) definition is without a witness, since the only possible one is the dead? To answer these questions, the essays analyzes an example of visual testimony, the documentary S-21. The Khmer Rouge Killing machine, a film produced in 2003 by the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel and by Arte (France) and directed by Rithy Panh, a victim of the Cambodian genocide, having been held captive during the years of the regime (from 1975 to 1979) while his whole family (mother, father, brothers and sisters, uncles) was being tortured and eventually killed. And it is what happened in one of the places where this genocide was perpetrated, and how, that this documentary, posing itself as a belated witness, tries to recount, thanks to the testimonies of two of its seven victims-survivors but most of all thanks to the memories of some of the prison guards, the perpetrators.

Traumatic Realism and the Documentary: Remembering the Cambodian Genocide

DEMARIA, CRISTINA
2009

Abstract

The article is centred on the relationship between visual imaginary and testimonies, the way the former could stand as a momentary and provisional answer to some of the questions underpinning all the existing literature on traumas and testimonies, which have mainly centred on the representability of the un-representable: how to articulate a failed experience, something that is not part of memory itself and which cannot be, or has not yet been, worked through? How to witness an event that by (a certain) definition is without a witness, since the only possible one is the dead? To answer these questions, the essays analyzes an example of visual testimony, the documentary S-21. The Khmer Rouge Killing machine, a film produced in 2003 by the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel and by Arte (France) and directed by Rithy Panh, a victim of the Cambodian genocide, having been held captive during the years of the regime (from 1975 to 1979) while his whole family (mother, father, brothers and sisters, uncles) was being tortured and eventually killed. And it is what happened in one of the places where this genocide was perpetrated, and how, that this documentary, posing itself as a belated witness, tries to recount, thanks to the testimonies of two of its seven victims-survivors but most of all thanks to the memories of some of the prison guards, the perpetrators.
The Genres of Post-conflict Testimonies
133
152
Demaria C.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/84108
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