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Haunted Images: Film, Ethics, Testimony and the Holocaust (review)

Haunted Images: Film, Ethics, Testimony and the Holocaust (review) Haunted Images: Film, Ethics, Testimony and the Holocaust, by Libby Saxton. London: Wallflower, 2008. 162 pp. $28.00. Libby Saxton begins her study of Holocaust film by stating that in the wake of numerous theoretical interventions by thinkers like Jorge Semprun, Gillian Rose, and Giorgio Agamben, the question of the representability of the Holocaust has changed. She argues that "the focus of critical discussion and artistic invention has shifted from the question of whether the event could or should be represented to the question of how it might adequately or responsibly be represented" (p. 2). In fact, the scarcity of documentary visual material has haunted Holocaust cinema by its very absence. In France, in particular, the debate between Claude Lanzmann and Jean-Luc Godard over the ethical efficacy of Holocaust images has put in sharp focus what is at stake, namely "the status of the image as document and trace and the ethics of vision and blindness" (p. 5). Yet, the mediated nature of much of public life demands a critical discussion of the mechanism of representations, and particularly when dealing with major historical events. Saxton emphasizes the significance of the testimonial dimension and agrees with Agamben and others that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies Purdue University Press

Haunted Images: Film, Ethics, Testimony and the Holocaust (review)

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Publisher
Purdue University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Purdue University Press
ISSN
1534-5165
Publisher site
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Abstract

Haunted Images: Film, Ethics, Testimony and the Holocaust, by Libby Saxton. London: Wallflower, 2008. 162 pp. $28.00. Libby Saxton begins her study of Holocaust film by stating that in the wake of numerous theoretical interventions by thinkers like Jorge Semprun, Gillian Rose, and Giorgio Agamben, the question of the representability of the Holocaust has changed. She argues that "the focus of critical discussion and artistic invention has shifted from the question of whether the event could or should be represented to the question of how it might adequately or responsibly be represented" (p. 2). In fact, the scarcity of documentary visual material has haunted Holocaust cinema by its very absence. In France, in particular, the debate between Claude Lanzmann and Jean-Luc Godard over the ethical efficacy of Holocaust images has put in sharp focus what is at stake, namely "the status of the image as document and trace and the ethics of vision and blindness" (p. 5). Yet, the mediated nature of much of public life demands a critical discussion of the mechanism of representations, and particularly when dealing with major historical events. Saxton emphasizes the significance of the testimonial dimension and agrees with Agamben and others that

Journal

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish StudiesPurdue University Press

Published: Apr 9, 2010

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