Events in Modern Languages & Cultures
Dr Emma Wilson: Resnais and the Dead
NUIT ET BROUILLARD first gives form to a concern which is felt through the decades of Resnais's feature filmmaking: a concern with the possibility of (physical) contact with the dead. Colin Davis, in Haunted Subjects, explores possibilities of speaking with the dead, drawing in particular on the work of Agamben, Levinas, Derrida and others. This paper argues that, for Resnais, the attempt to find a mode of response to the camps, encompasses a move to conjure the dead as animate, physical, and tangible. Touch, tactility, the desire to hold the dead still animate, give way, in the Underworld of the film, to abject, obscene contact with inanimate and disintegrating matter. As Resnais pushes his film towards tactility, investigating film as medium of sensation and contamination, he draws his viewer to question any possibility of sure purchase or contact.
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