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Journal ArticleDOI

The ‘lost child’ as figure of trauma and recovery in early post-war cinema: Fred Zinnemann’s The Search (1948) and Natan Gross’ Unzere Kinder (1948)

04 May 2021-Studies in European Cinema (Taylor & Francis)-Vol. 18, Iss: 2, pp 159-175
TL;DR: The authors examines the role of the lost child in feature films of the immediate post-war period and argues that they use the child figure to deal with traumatization and make it part of the reconstruction of communal intergenerational relations.
Abstract: The article examines the figure of the ‘lost child’ in feature films of the immediate post-war period. The figure’s enormous symbolic value as innocent victim and future generation, granted the ‘lost child’ a key position in post-war discourse, including films which tried to grapple with the moral and physical destruction of the continent after 1945. National film industries, particularly of the perpetrator nation, employed the ‘lost child’ for genre stories in which the post-war chaos is being mastered and a new, masculine national self is re-built. However, films made by victim groups outside a national context rely on the ‘lost child’ to broach the destruction of their identity by war and persecution. Analysing two films, Fred Zinnemann’s The Search (1948) and Nata Gross’s Unzere Kinder (1948), I argue that they use the child figure to deal with traumatization and make it part of the reconstruction of communal intergenerational relations. This does not result in stories of masculine mastery but in narratives that incorporate moments of trauma process emerging around destroyed mother-child relations. The films, encoding traumatization in film language, develop a rich cinematic language along questions of identity and form a first instance of posttraumatic cinema.
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The notion of the Axis as a military coalition, albeit a dysfunctional one, was explored by DiNardo as mentioned in this paper, who showed that the internal nature of the Nazi regime (and its "fascist" partners) systematically exacerbated the underlying problem of coalitional lopsidedness.
Abstract: power, preparation, expertise, and resources within the Axis grouping. Yet, greater multilateral coordination might have alleviated those problems, and the Germans consistently avoided it. They neither prepared nor seemed to desire coordinated coalitional warfare, and even their own interservice coordination eluded them. While the reasons lay partly in the pre-Nazi institutional culture of the German armed forces, ideology also played a role. To be sure, neither lopsided alliances, nor military overextension, nor haphazard planning are afflictions exclusive to right-wing ideological coalitions. But there was a crucial difference between the Nazis’ racial war of territorial aggrandizement, with its ideologically driven recklessness and jackal-like opportunities and simultaneous risks for allies that came late to the party, and their opponents’ war of national and international viability. While DiNardo’s examples vividly illustrate all of these points, it would have been worthwhile had he more explicitly sorted out the issue that is everywhere between the lines here—namely, the extent to which the internal nature of the Nazi regime (and its “fascist” partners) systematically exacerbated the underlying problem of coalitional lopsidedness. Greater dialogue with the body of literature on the Nazis’ general patterns of institutional polycracy might have added an intriguing dimension here. A table of abbreviations and legends that explain the symbols on the maps would also have been helpful. But these comments should not obscure DiNardo’s achievement. What DiNardo demonstrates is the importance of taking seriously the notion of the Axis as a military coalition, albeit a dysfunctional one. By examining not only the traditional area of strategic and battlefield dispensations but also some aspects of the educative and administrative culture of the military, DiNardo engagingly illuminates an often overlooked element in the military history of World War II. In the process, he offers an opportunity to contemplate the timeless problem of how to assess the factors that influence a great power’s effectiveness when it conducts coalitional warfare.

25 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Stargardt and De Ras as discussed by the authors have published a collection of essays about the relationship between race and gender, including a book entitled "Race: A History of Race and Gender: A Review".
Abstract: by Nicholas Stargardt, London, Jonathan Cape, 2005, xvi + 509 pp., $30 (Hardback), ISBN 978‐02‐24064‐79‐8 by Marion E.P. De Ras, New York and London: Routledge, 2008, xiii + 243 pp., £85 (Hardback)...

21 citations

01 Jan 2011

1 citations

References
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Book
09 May 2011
TL;DR: The Lost Children as discussed by the authors is a story of families destroyed by war and how the reconstruction of families quickly became synonymous with the survival of European civilization itself, even as Allied officials and humanitarian organizations proclaimed a new era of individualist and internationalist values, and defined the "best interests" of children in nationalist terms.
Abstract: During the Second World War, an unprecedented number of families were torn apart. As the Nazi empire crumbled, millions roamed the continent in search of their loved ones. The Lost Children tells the story of these families, and of the struggle to determine their fate. We see how the reconstruction of families quickly became synonymous with the survival of European civilization itself. Even as Allied officials and humanitarian organizations proclaimed a new era of individualist and internationalist values, Tara Zahra demonstrates that they defined the "best interests" of children in nationalist terms. Sovereign nations and families were seen as the key to the psychological rehabilitation of traumatized individuals and the peace and stability of Europe. Based on original research in German, French, Czech, Polish, and American archives, The Lost Children is a heartbreaking and mesmerizing story. It brings together the histories of eastern and western Europe, and traces the efforts of everyone--from Jewish Holocaust survivors to German refugees, from Communist officials to American social workers--to rebuild the lives of displaced children. It reveals that many seemingly timeless ideals of the family were actually conceived in the concentration camps, orphanages, and refugee camps of the Second World War, and shows how the process of reconstruction shaped Cold War ideologies and ideas about childhood and national identity. This riveting tale of families destroyed by war reverberates in the lost children of today's wars and in the compelling issues of international adoption, human rights and humanitarianism, and refugee policies.

121 citations

Book
01 Dec 2003
TL;DR: In this article, Szabo et al. discuss the origins of posttraumatic cinema and post-traumatic auto-biographies, as well as postmodernism, second generation, and cross-cultural posttraumatic Cinema.
Abstract: Preface Acknowledgments 1. Introduction to Film, Trauma, and the Holocaust 2. Night and Fog and the Origins of Posttraumatic Cinema 3. Shoah and the Posttraumatic Documentary after Cinema Verite 4. The Pawnbroker and the Posttraumatic Flashback 5. Istvan Szabo and Posttraumatic Autobiography 6. Postmodernism, the Second Generation, and Cross-Cultural Posttraumatic Cinema Notes Works Cited Index

118 citations


"The ‘lost child’ as figure of traum..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Alain Resnais’s Nuit et Brouillard (1956) and Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker (1964) are often discussed as first examples of posttraumatic film (Hirsch 2004; Insdorff 2003)....

    [...]

Book
01 Jan 1983
TL;DR: The authors found an appropriate language for the Hollywood version of the Holocaust and used it to find an appropriate metaphor for the Holocaust in fiction and non-fiction movies, including the personal documentary.
Abstract: Part I. Finding an Appropriate Language: 1. The Hollywood version of the Holocaust 2. Meaningful montage 3. Styles of tension 4. Black humor Part II. Narrative Strategies: 5. The Jew as child 6. In hiding/onstage 7. Beautiful evasions? 8. The condemned and doomed Part III. Responses to Nazi Atrocity: 9. Political resistance 10. The ambiguity of identity 11. The new German guilt Part IV. Shaping Reality: 12. The personal documentary 13. From judgment to illumination Part V. Third Edition Update: 14. The Holocaust as genre 15. Rediscoveries 16. Rescuers in fiction films 17. The ironic touch 18. Dysfunction as distortion: the Holocaust survivor on screen and stage 19. Documentaries of return.

93 citations

Book
01 Jan 2010
TL;DR: The Child in Film examines popular films including Taxi Driver, Man on Fire, and contemporary Japanese horror, as well as ""art house" productions such as Mirror, La Je, and Pan's Labyrinth, and questions why the figure of the child has such a significant impact on the visual aspects and storytelling potential of cinema as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Ghastly and ghostly children, ""dirty little white girls,"" and the child as witness and as victim have always played an important part in the history of cinema, as have child performers. Yet the disruptive power of the child in films made for an adult audience has been a neglected topic. The Child in Film examines popular films including Taxi Driver, Man on Fire, and contemporary Japanese horror, as well as ""art house"" productions such as Mirror, La Je, and Pan's Labyrinth, and questions why the figure of the child has such a significant impact on the visual aspects and storytelling potential of cinema. Karen Lury argues that the child as a liminal yet powerful agent has allowed filmmakers to play adventurously with cinema's formal conventions, with far-reaching consequences. She reveals how a child's relationship to time allows it to disturb conventional master-narratives and explores how the concern for and investment in the child actor conceals the reality of film acting and the skills of the child performer. She addresses the expression of child sexuality, and questions existing assumptions as to who children ""really are.

66 citations

Book
01 Jan 1998
TL;DR: Langer as mentioned in this paper explores the use of Holocaust themes in literature, memoirs, film, and painting, focusing his attention on a variety of controversial issues: the attempt of a number of commentators to appropriate the subject of the Holocaust for private moral agendas; the ordeal of women in the concentration camps; the conflicting claims of individual and community survival in the Kovno ghetto; the current tendency to conflate the Holocaust with other modern atrocities, thereby blurring the distinctive features of each; and the sporadic impulse to shift the emphasis from the crime, the criminals, and the victimized to the question
Abstract: Lawrence L. Langer, perhaps the most important literary critic of the Holocaust, here explores the use of Holocaust themes in literature, memoirs, film, and painting. Langer focuses his attention on a variety of controversial issues: the attempt of a number of commentators to appropriate the subject of the Holocaust for private moral agendas; the ordeal of women in the concentration camps; the conflicting claims of individual and community survival in the Kovno ghetto; the current tendency to conflate the Holocaust with other modern atrocities, thereby blurring the distinctive features of each; and the sporadic impulse to shift the emphasis from the crime, the criminals, and the victimized to the question of forgiveness and the need for healing. He concludes with some reflections on the challenge of teaching the Holocaust to generations of students who know less and less of its history but continue to manifest an eager curiosity about its human impact and psychological roots.

63 citations


"The ‘lost child’ as figure of traum..." refers background in this paper

  • ...(Langner 1998, 159)....

    [...]

  • ...Scholars have described the skit as ‘sentimental’ (Langner 1998, 160) as well as ‘naïve and uninformed’ (Konigsberg 1998, 13)....

    [...]

  • ...The question that looms largest in the film is whether the tactics used by those who would represent the events of the catastrophe are anything more than a strategy of diversion, whose deepest if unexpressed aim is to avoid more undigestible details (Langner 1998, 161)....

    [...]

  • ...Nevertheless, both also see a remaining tension between the two modes of remembering suggesting that the film ‘continues to question its own premises, inviting us to reconstrue its conclusions even as it seems to assert them’ (Langner 1998, 159)....

    [...]

  • ...Unzere Kinder has attracted little academic interest in itself; it has been mentioned in the wider context of Yiddish cinema and, more specifically, Holocaust film (Hoberman 1991; Konigsberg 1998; Langner 1998)....

    [...]