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"Histoire(s) du cinéma" (Holocaust: Affect and Absence Series)

April 09, 2017
02:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Dryden Theatre, George Eastman Museum, 900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

The Paper Bridge

(Jean-Luc Godard, France 1989–98, digital, 266 min., French w/subtitles)

Jean-Luc Godard transformed the face of cinema with his prolific, influential, and revolutionary body of work (Breathless, Weekend, and Contempt, to name just a few). But Histoire(s) du cinéma is probably the towering achievement of a singular creative career spanning sixty years. Made over a decade, Histoire(s) du cinéma is an extraordinary look at the medium through the eyes of this unique filmmaker. Hugely ambitious in scope, the series covers a wide range of topics from the birth of cinema to Hollywood to Italian neorealism and beyond. A dazzling montage of sight and sound, Histoire(s) du cinéma features a diverse array of film extracts, the voices of—among others—Juliette Binoche and Alfred Hitchcock, and an eclectic music soundtrack ranging from Beethoven to Leonard Cohen. It ultimately boils down to a bitter indictment of the medium that has, according to Godard, betrayed its historical promise because it failed to confront the horror of the Holocaust by recording its images.

About the "Holocaust: Affect and Absence" Film Series

All depictions of the Holocaust grapple with a central question: how does one represent the unrepresentable? The continuous stream of new films about the Holocaust, more than seventy years after the end of World War II, attests to both the difficulties and the importance of this problem. The films selected for this series span these decades and challenge us to think about how much is said through silence and fraught emotional connections between the films and their audiences. This program of documentaries ranges from some of the first filmic reflections of the atrocities in the camps in Billy Wilder’s Death Mills (1945) and Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog (1956), to a search for the lost East European Jewish communities of Ruth Beckermann’s family members before WWII in her film Paper Bridge (1987), to Chantal Akerman’s moving final film about her relationship to her mother and their relationship to her mother’s past in No Home Movie (2015). The films all reflect on questions of responsibility, violence, and humanity in ways that resonate in the present day, thus creating compelling albeit complicated relationships between past and present.

This series is a collaboration between the George Eastman Museum, the JCC Ames Amzalak Rochester Jewish Film Festival, and the University of Rochester. It is made possible in part by the University of Rochester’s German Program, Film and Media Studies Program, and Center for Jewish Studies.

$6 members
$8 nonmembers
$4 students with ID

Event page (GEM)
Series poster (PDF)

Category: Film Screenings