Abstract: While some sci-fi epics such as Avatar draw on issues of genocidal conflict, their presentation of the genocidal scenario is packaged as sutured family entertainment, thus sparing the audience feelings of discomfort and alienation that cinematic representations of historical genocides tend to elicit from them. This article argues that the post-Spielberg saturation of popular culture with risk-free genocidal narratives calls for a critical analysis of how hi/stories about genocide are produced, reenacted, and transmitted. Atom Egoyan's Ararat (2002), a film about trans-generational responses to the memory of the Armenian genocide and the ongoing struggle for its recognition, is uniquely suited to exploring these concerns. Ararat stages the epistemological conundrums and familial psychodramas that accompany protagonists' multi-faceted attempts to capture and represent historical memory. By showing how the denial of the Armenian genocide lives on in the seemingly safe spaces of the diaspora, Ararat investigates the complicated racial and sexual dynamics that inform the struggle for recognition.
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Apr 9, 2010
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