Staging Encounters with Estranged Pasts: Radu Jude’s The Dead Nation (2017) and the Cinematic Face of Public Memory of the Holocaust in Present-Day Romania
Abstract: This article provides a close analysis of Radu Jude’s The Dead Nation (2017), a documentary essay that brings together authentic archival sources documenting the persecution and murder of Jews in World War II. The sources include a little-known diary of Emil Dorian, a Jewish medical doctor and writer from Bucharest, a collection of photographs depicting scenes from Romanian daily life in the 1930s and 1940s, and recordings of political speeches and propaganda songs of a Fascist nature. Through a careful framing of this film in relation to Romanian public memory of World War II, and in connection to the popular new wave cinema, I will contend that Jude’s work acts, perhaps unwittingly, to intervene in public memory and invites the Romanian public to face up to and acknowledge the nation’s perpetrator past. This filmic intervention further offers an important platform for public debate on Romania’s Holocaust memory and is of significance for European public memory, as it proposes the film happening as a distinct and innovative practice of public engagement with history.
Abstract: Until the early 1990s, the close cohabitation in France of Jews and Muslims from formerly colonized North Africa was generally peaceful. During the first half of the twentieth century, most of the newcomers fulfilled the Republican vision of assimilation. However, events in the Middle East in the latter part of the twentieth century and early years of the twenty-first, and in particular the First and Second Intifada, together with the introduction of Arab satellite television, caused a sea-change in inter-ethnic relations. Angry Muslim youths, frustrated also by widespread discrimination in the broader French society and workplace, directed violence both toward the authorities and the establishment and particularly against Jews whom they accuse as being Zionists. For their part, the Jews of the banlieues (suburbs) and inner cities have felt increasingly insecure and have been progressively moving to “safer” bourgeois or gentile neighborhoods or to Israel. These new realities have been the subject of a considerable number of French movies by Jewish and Muslim directors (and in one instance the son of a pied noir family) and film writers. Some of these films merely attempt to record the situation, whereas others aim at fostering improved relationships. This article chronicles these cinematic efforts and analyzes their varying approaches to Jewish-Muslim relations in France.
Abstract: Abrams provides a preliminary survey of the representation of Jews in British cinema both in front of and behind the camera from the beginnings of the UK film industry to the present day. In doing so, he outlines the reason for the relative lack of films in Britain that can be considered Jewish. While there are a variety of factors for this, the main reason he argues is the type of identity that British Jews have developed as a response to their context. However, since 1990 there have been signs that this is beginning to change, and more films reflective of the British-Jewish experience are appearing.
Abstract: I met Simcha Jacobovici in 1998 while doing my dissertation research in Uzbekistan. Long-haired, fair-skinned, and dressed in American garb, he was clearly an outsider like myself, and we introduced ourselves. I told him I was a cultural anthropologist doing fieldwork among the Bukharan Jews. He told me that he was a filmmaker collecting footage for a documentary about the ten lost tribes. I had heard the theory that the Bukharan Jews were among the lost Israelite tribes, but I considered it far-fetched and had trouble taking Simcha's enthusiasm about the possibility seriously.