Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations

Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations

Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations

Trauma and Cinema: Cross-Cultural Explorations

Synopsis

The book discusses how trauma presented in the media spills over national boundaries and can be found in images across divergent cultures in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and America.

Excerpt

E. ANN KAPLAN AND BAN WANG

Agency in History

The fundamental event of the modern age, Martin Heidegger declares, is "the conquest of the world as picture." This description has been borne out again and again by the much talked-about theory of the decline of history and politics in the global display of simulacra. Rescuing a bit of historical lesson from Forrest Gump, Vivian Sobchack tells us in a volume devoted to the trauma of the modern event, that this jocular film nevertheless shows that even an historically absentminded, dimwitted person can be "in history, make history." This is due to the fact that "shit happens" all the time, that falling out of the previous rational appointment and narrative, each individual is to make up his or her own piece of history by some self-responsible, self-serving act. Digitally inserting the dramatic hero into documentary footage featuring real historical figures, the film affirms the postmodern capacity of digital and visual media in manipulating and playing tricks on history. Sobchack would like us to think favorably of a widely dispersed populist readiness for history, which may be derived from, as well as serve as an antidote to, the digitally mastered, commercially oriented, widely circulated Disney images of history. The principle of mainstream media representation . . .

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