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Title: What remains amiss? Film bodies, traumatic experience and absence in the cinematic encounter with the essay film
Authors: Chia, Justin Ian Soon Hann
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Ethics
DRNTU::Visual arts and music:Film
Issue Date: 2017
Source: Chia, J. I. S. H. (2017). What remains amiss? Film bodies, traumatic experience and absence in the cinematic encounter with the essay film. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: What Remains Amiss? addresses film bodies, traumatic experience, absence and failure in essay films that focus on tumultuous periods in Cambodian and Indonesian history. The primary texts this project analyzes are Rithy Panh’s S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (S-21, la machine de mort Khmère rouge, 2003) and Duch, Master of the Forges of Hell (Duch, le maître des forges de l'enfer, 2011), as well as Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014). All four films gesture towards the recuperation of images that represent the victims of Khmer Rouge era Cambodia, and the 1965–66 killings of Indonesia “Communists” respectively. This dissertation then explores the cinematic encounters generated between the embodied spectator and the essay films which essay the traumatic events that shaped the socio-political landscapes of Cambodia and Indonesia. Can these films be read as facilitating a mode of discourse that recuperates traumatic events and experiences of the past—that have been repressed by ruling regimes or untimely forgotten—not solely through the film bodies projected on the screen but also the absences engendered by such film images? Following Christopher Pavsek, this project seeks to examine the claim that “the means for resolving the insufficiency of the present [could] lie at hand . . . perhaps not ready-at-hand, but nonetheless available, if only we might find them” within the cinema, not as the mechanical god which bestows answers through the presence of what is projected onscreen but rather the dark mirror of humanity that enables us to perceive the ruptures and absences both onscreen and in our own lives (The Utopia of Film 241).
DOI: 10.32657/10356/72464
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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