The Ruptured Text: Film and the Uses of Memory

Dissertation, New York University (1998)

The Ruptured Text: Film and the Uses of Memory analyzes the uses of memory across a number of films specifically chosen because of the rigorous and experimental manner with which they representationally engage memory. Textual analysis of these films proceeds, as such, framed through two central questions of representation. First, how does the presence of memory in these films reveal various degrees of representational limits and impasses in film? Second, how does the textualization of memory in these films both test and expand film language? Throughout the course of this study I hope to demonstrate the ways in which the presence of memory, as it is inscribed in these films, raises profound representational issues involving the very nature of film itself. ;The investigation of memory in this study was supported by diverse methodological sources including discourse analysis and recent theory involving history, representation, narrative and trauma. The study is structured through four particular instances of the articulation of memory: first, the relation between subjective memory and traumatic history is investigated in the postwar cinema of Alain Resnais; second, films from American avant-garde are examined in relation to memory, ontology and autobiography; third, the presence of memory in contemporary experimental film and video is framed through issues regarding identity, history and gender; and finally the representation of the Holocaust is analyzed in Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah
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