The Golden Age of Holocaust Cinema
Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories
The 2014 Film & History Conference
DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2014
In the thirty years between 1980 and 2010, over 20 Holocaust feature films and even more documentaries were produced annually in Europe, Israel, North America, and South America. This phenomenon reflected not only the popularity of television docudramas and miniseries, but also the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of key events in Hitler’s “Final Solution,” the collapse of the Soviet Union, the proliferation of Holocaust education and museums, the rise of Jewish film festivals and premium movie cable channels as distribution venues, the rise of ethnic and minority group identity politics, and a chronological distance that enabled countries to examine their responses to the Holocaust in more critical ways than had previously occurred.
This “golden age” was not simply a matter of quantity, but also of quality, and genre and thematic diversity. A brief list of the “classics” in these decades illustrates the richness of the Holocaust cinema they produced, including: The Last Metro (1980); Sophie’s Choice (1982); Shoah (1985); Au Revoir, Les Enfantes, (1987); Enemies: A Love Story, (1989); The Nasty Girl (1990); Schindler’s List (1993); Les Miserables (1995); Life Is Beautiful (1998); Sunshine (1999); Mr. Death (1999); Into the Arms of Strangers (2000); The Pianist (2002); Fateless (2005); The Counterfeiters (2007); and Inglourious Basterrds, (2009).
This area invites 20-minute papers dealing with all aspects of the Golden Age of Holocaust Cinema. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. How have political and social changes in different countries (e.g. the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise in asylum seekers and foreign workers in Europe, the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and conflict, etc) affected the portrayal of the Holocaust?
2. How has globalization and multinational production universalized how the Holocaust is portrayed?
3. How have different genres been used to portray the Holocaust – such as animated features and shorts, children’s films, comedy, counterfactual fantasies, experimental films, love stories, pornography, psychodramas, and science fiction.
4. How have new topics been introduced into Holocaust films, such as: second and third generation experiences; the persecution of homosexuals; the genocide of the Sinti and Roma; tough Jewish resisters; morally ambivalent persecutors and victims, etc.
5. Close analysis and readings of particular films or cycle of films from the perspective of distribution, gender, narrative strategies, production, and reception.
6. How has Holocaust iconography been used to portray other genocides and human rights violations?
Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (www.filmandhistory.org).
Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2014, to the area chair:
San Diego State University