Silent (un)becoming song: Poetic adventures in history, memory and identity in Papusza and Song of Granite

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Buslowska, Elzbieta
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Film and Screen Media, University College Cork
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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.
Blanchot , Deleuze and Guattari , Memory , History , Identity
Buslowska, E. (2021) 'Silent (un)becoming song: Poetic adventures in history, memory and identity in Papusza and Song of Granite', Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 21, pp. 55-71.