Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Film and Genocide
A forthcoming anthology edited by Kristi M. Wilson and Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli


Film critics have long been dissatisfied with the ability of commercial films to convey the suffering of victims of genocide and the political and social conditions that lead to it. Night and Fog, Alain Resnais’ 1955 experimental documentary film remains, to this day, the most critically acclaimed film about genocide. Where formal innovations in the medium of film are concerned, being able to tell such extreme stories and recreate the sociopolitical context that fueled them poses particular challenges for filmmakers.

Film and Genocide brings genocide studies and film studies together in an innovative way that pushes the boundaries of each field. A first book of its kind, the authors in Film and Genocide consider filmic representations, both fictional and documentary, of the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and genocides in Chile, China, Australia, Rwanda, and the United States. A central issue in this pivotal work consists of the aesthetic and ethical challenges in representing the horrors of genocide. Film and Genocide explores the potential of documentary and fiction film to help in understanding the legacy of genocide that continues to haunt contemporary life and popular culture. In addition to the essays in this collection, three film directors add their perspectives. In three unique interviews, Irek Dobrowolski, director of The Portraitist (2005), Nick Hughes, director of 100 Days (2005), and Greg Barker, director of Ghosts of Rwanda (2004), discuss such topics as working with disturbing images and bringing hidden stories to life.

This unique book explores the discursive effectiveness of genocide films to help foster what Lynn Hunt calls ‘imagined empathy’ among audiences to the extent that genocide awareness and prevention becomes a high priority for them.