Hopeless didacticism: Archival sources and spectatorial address in ‘I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians’

Diana Popa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines “Îmi este indiferent dacă în istorie vom intra ca barbari” / “I Do Not Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians” (Radu Jude, 2018) (hereafter “Barbarians”), a film that explores the persistence of problematic official narratives about the Romanian participation in Second World War. I argue that this is a narrative film akin to conceptual art, in which formal elements combine with a variety of heterogenous media, such as archival still and moving imagery, to provide ‘evidence’ about the past while also reflecting on historical truth’s fragility to propagandistic manipulation and on the role that media, film included, can play in it. Through close analysis and drawing on recent theorising on the cinematic dispositif, this article examines the ways in which “Barbarians” encourages complex text–viewer relationships and eventually thwarts spectators’ expectation of being presented with a ‘final truth’. It ultimately reveals the inevitable multitude of perspectives about the past, highlighting the risks of failure that any pedagogical attempt to ‘fix memory’ will face.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLaw, Culture and the Humanities
Early online date14 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • politics of memory
  • Holocaust
  • anti-Semitism
  • Radu Jude
  • archival photography in film
  • re-enactment

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