Representation of the trauma of suicide attacks in Israeli fictional cinema during the height of the Second Intifadah (2000-2004) is blocked by both the repression of the trauma and by collectivization of personal memory. That is, by anti-memory. In contrast, the new genre of short-short films of the tele-cinema project Moments provides a befitting response to the time-trap of chronic traumatic temporality by representing its sudden-ness, irreversibility, uncanny presentification, arbitrariness and negative circularity. The unequaled temporality of the attack is realized mainly through the three-minute format, the before/after [if] structure which subverts the Freudian Nachträglichkeit, and audial representation. The posttraumatic short-short cinema of the Second Intifadah responds to the perception of time as cultural and culture-dependent. In doing so, Moments proves that only bi-temporality and the cinematic psycho-acoustics of the terror attack might enhance the Israelis’ confrontation with conservative political orientations via the trauma. In other words, Moments contests Israeli discourse focusing on Jewish victimhood, denying the heavy price of occupation, and the hegemonization of victory. Through its unique format, it operates to advance acknowledgment of the trauma of terror attacks, and therefore, post-traumatic memory.
This article offers a reflection on media ethics originating in cinema. Discussing the shift in the politics of the body/corpse as an outcome of the “new” war allows us to compare perspectives towards trauma resulting from suicide attacks in the Israeli documentary No. 17 (as a representative example of an entire corpus), in video recordings taken of suicide bombers before their missions, and in the Palestinian narrative film Paradise Now. Discussing the ethics of the look, the phenomenology of the event of the attack, and the criterion of contamination (our willingness to become contaminated by the corpse as a criterion of accepting the other) the article seeks to distinguish between the discourses oriented towards the other and those which are closed to this comprehension and to these claims. Proposing the body/corpse relationship as a new “materialistic” discourse for discussing trauma also contests the predominance of memory discourse in trauma studies.
After a latency period, the American cinema is processing the trauma of defeat in the Vietnam War. In these films, defeat is repressed but the defeated male is present. Central to the texts is a profound loss of self, incoherence at the gendered core of masculine identity, the failure to conform to the heteronormative mythical model, loss of traditional affiliations (representability of the social order, fatherhood, brotherhood), tortured body, and shattering of sexuality. All three models of post-traumatic masculinity subvert the identification between masculinity, patriarchy, and nationalism.
The cinematic representations of bulimia nervosa are few in number. Their very rarity, however, sheds light on the relations between the private body and the public (social, historical, cultural, and cinematic) body, as well as between the private, external, ostensibly visible body, and the internal, invisible, repressed body. Both Hunger Years (Hungerjahre in einem reichen Land, dir. Jutta Brückner, Germany, 1979) (the film’s original title literally translates into Hunger Years in a Land of Plenty) and Girl, Interrupted (dir. James Mangold, US, 1999) depict the female bulimic body as a resistant body. They do so by presenting a network of conflicts between the private, external/internal body and the public body. These, of course, are different in each case. Hunger Years, Brückner’s autobiographical movie, describes the bulimia of the (anti)historical body. The bulimia attests that the body itself has a history, but not in terms of historical continuity. Rather, the female body in Germany in the 1970s creates resistance to the historical body with which the explicit, and particularly the implicit, public discourse affiliates it. That is, the bulimic body of the 1970s creates itself as a body that is resistant to the intergenerational transition of the Nazi-fascist male, and particularly female, body. In Girl, Interrupted, it is the psychocultural bulimic body that carries the mark of sexual abuse and incest in the mid1960s American family. The bulimic body is the total inversion of the physical model of sexual excess of the 1960s. Bulimic excess replaces sexual excess, an exchange that is tragic because of the incest. The bulimic body as a rebellious body creates interactions not only with the supposedly liberated physical model that the 1960s culture of sexual freedom propagated but also with the model of the political body engaged in political struggle. Just as it resists the sexual revolution, as well as its perverted manifestation within the family unit, it also presents itself as apolitical.