Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. Issue 21: Mining Memories: New Explorations in Cinema, Memory and the Past

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    Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media Podcast. Episode 06, Issue 21, 'Mining Memories'
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Young, Gwenda
    Dr. Gwenda Young, lecturer in FIlm and Screen Media at University College Cork talks with the current Irish Arts Council/UCC Film Artist in Residence Tadhg O'Sullivan about memory, collaboration and process in his film career to date.
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    “Non-sites of memory”: Poland in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah outtakes
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Vice, Sue; Williams, Dominic; Young, Gwenda
    This article analyses some of the 30 hours of location footage excluded from Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 Holocaust documentary Shoah. Although there has been some analysis of the outtake material in Lanzmann’s archive which consists of eyewitness interviews, very little attention has been paid to the footage of landscape, urban and camp settings, from which we have drawn these examples of Polish sites. We argue that it is possible to discern the presence of a specifically spatial memory by considering this excluded material in a way that draws on its outtake status, that is, its form of 11-minute reels unaccompanied by eyewitness presence or voiceover. The filmic construction of spaces to suit Lanzmann’s concerns is revealed if we attend to this material in its unedited state, with its constituent repetitions and exclusions, as a spatial version of the director’s customary interest in the reincarnation of the past in the present.
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    Re-presenting histories: Documentary film and architectural ruins in Brutality in Stone
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Guerin, Frances; Young, Gwenda
    This article rereads Alexander Kluge and Peter Schamoni’s short film Brutality in Stone (1961) in light of more contemporary scholarly interest in the architectural ruin. This leads to an analysis that challenges, or recasts cinematic assumptions about the past. I begin my analysis through attention to Brutality in Stone’s radical strategies of montage, marriage of archival stills and newly-shot documentary moving images, merging of real and imagined, past and present, sound and image. These formal strategies are observed through the lens of theories of ruin, Kluge’s own writings on cinema and history, the references to the historiography of Nazi architecture, and contemporary theories of ruination in architecture. I then reveal the film as a type of counter-memory, promoting a critical awareness of, rather than espousing an ideologically motivated enthusiasm for the histories and memories of the past as they have been represented in architectural monuments, cinematic and historical narratives. Specifically, a contemporary reconsideration of Brutality in Stone contributes to rethinking the relationship to the ongoing lessons of German history and its cinematic representation in the contemporary moment. Keeping alive the memories of the past has never been more urgent as we move into an historical moment when memories of the Nazi past are becoming ever dimmer.
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    Mining memories: New explorations in cinema, memory and the past
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Young, Gwenda; Young, Gwenda
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    Silent (un)becoming song: Poetic adventures in history, memory and identity in Papusza and Song of Granite
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2021) Buslowska, Elzbieta; Young, Gwenda
    Song of Granite (Pat Collins, 2017) and Papusza (Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze, 2013) could be described as unconventional film ‘biographies’ (of the Irish folk singer Joe Heaney and Polish-Roma poet Bronislawa Wajs). In these films, poetry and philosophy come together in what I call the silent (un)becoming undoing the stabilities of (hi)story, identity, and memory. Crossing different aesthetic and geographical territories between fiction and documentary, they speak through the power of a song/poetry, telling a story of fragmentary encounters where histories are invented in the gaps of memories (personal and cultural) and identities disappear in other (be)longings. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of the refrain as both the question of the native (home) and the “other” (the unknown homeland), and Maurice Blanchot’s notion of a disaster, the article will attempt to think with the films’ poetic “remembering” that is not narrated through the linearity of a story-telling but sounds silently in the vastness and motionlessness of the landscape, the creative treatment of the archive footage, materiality that remembers past from the outside of remembering and in the emotion of the song repeated in the black and white poetic expression of the refrain. The films’ cinematic force of (un)becoming will be considered as a question of the disastrous longing (for silence) which cannot be known or named but which sends life and thinking towards other memories-potentialities.