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Interconnected memories: left-wing terrorism in postmillennial German and Italian Cinema (2000-2010)

Interconnected memories: left-wing terrorism in postmillennial German and Italian Cinema (2000-2010)
Interconnected memories: left-wing terrorism in postmillennial German and Italian Cinema (2000-2010)
This thesis examines the representation of left-wing political violence in Italian and German films from 2000 to 2010 drawing on postmodernism theory, film genre, memory studies and gender theory. It considers filmic texts and paratexts, historiography and political discourses to offer a comparative analysis of the mnemonic dynamics in new millennial Italy and Germany.

This thesis looks at why the experience of revolutionary terrorism in the 1970s reappears at the turn of the new millennium in a cluster of fiction films, which innovate and sometimes challenge previous paradigms. It reads this revival in connection with industrial trends and historical events, such as the end of old ideologies, the early release of former terrorists and 9/11. The memory of left-wing terrorism has found new lifeblood in the new millennium because there are ample resonances with contemporary social issues, such as political activism and global fears of international terrorism. Focusing on eight case studies, I argue that the memory of left-wing terrorism unfolds beyond and across temporal and spatial boundaries, reactivated by present-day occurrences and through contacts with other traumatic memories. The notion of ‘interconnected memory’ is fundamentally conceived as a nexus of multiple meanings, the fruit of past recollections, and movements between different socio-historical dimensions and generational memories.

Representational strategies and narrative trends are also explored to shed light on crossnational forms of memorialising political violence and its legacy. The first part analyses how postmillennial films deal with the possibility of forgiveness, here interpreted as an approach to normalise the past through narratives of pacification or exclusion. It highlights the figure of the teenager as a metaphor for the changing memory of terrorism, generational conflicts and the implications of 1970s violence for young generations. Moreover, it discusses the depiction of female terrorists and the containment strategies adopted to mitigate the anxiety for terrorist acts perpetrated by violent women. The second part of this thesis is concerned with the risks of forgetting and more precisely on an aesthetic normalisation of the terrorist discourse through popular genres and a more commercial style. It comments on the hyper-authenticity and retro aesthetics in biopics about notorious terrorist groups, and the spectacularisation of violence via the thriller and heritage film genre. It also investigates how contemporary comedies satirise the phenomenon of anarchist revolts and political kidnappings to reflect on present-day social problems.
Caoduro, Elena
258bf3af-4472-46a6-b049-c23d23b5d42c
Caoduro, Elena
258bf3af-4472-46a6-b049-c23d23b5d42c
Bergfelder, Tim
fb4e3b67-06fd-4b9f-9a94-bc73a1c7c16d
Mazdon, Lucy
fdf3a464-0131-4f73-ab53-eb37e2745d56

Caoduro, Elena (2014) Interconnected memories: left-wing terrorism in postmillennial German and Italian Cinema (2000-2010). University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 271pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis examines the representation of left-wing political violence in Italian and German films from 2000 to 2010 drawing on postmodernism theory, film genre, memory studies and gender theory. It considers filmic texts and paratexts, historiography and political discourses to offer a comparative analysis of the mnemonic dynamics in new millennial Italy and Germany.

This thesis looks at why the experience of revolutionary terrorism in the 1970s reappears at the turn of the new millennium in a cluster of fiction films, which innovate and sometimes challenge previous paradigms. It reads this revival in connection with industrial trends and historical events, such as the end of old ideologies, the early release of former terrorists and 9/11. The memory of left-wing terrorism has found new lifeblood in the new millennium because there are ample resonances with contemporary social issues, such as political activism and global fears of international terrorism. Focusing on eight case studies, I argue that the memory of left-wing terrorism unfolds beyond and across temporal and spatial boundaries, reactivated by present-day occurrences and through contacts with other traumatic memories. The notion of ‘interconnected memory’ is fundamentally conceived as a nexus of multiple meanings, the fruit of past recollections, and movements between different socio-historical dimensions and generational memories.

Representational strategies and narrative trends are also explored to shed light on crossnational forms of memorialising political violence and its legacy. The first part analyses how postmillennial films deal with the possibility of forgiveness, here interpreted as an approach to normalise the past through narratives of pacification or exclusion. It highlights the figure of the teenager as a metaphor for the changing memory of terrorism, generational conflicts and the implications of 1970s violence for young generations. Moreover, it discusses the depiction of female terrorists and the containment strategies adopted to mitigate the anxiety for terrorist acts perpetrated by violent women. The second part of this thesis is concerned with the risks of forgetting and more precisely on an aesthetic normalisation of the terrorist discourse through popular genres and a more commercial style. It comments on the hyper-authenticity and retro aesthetics in biopics about notorious terrorist groups, and the spectacularisation of violence via the thriller and heritage film genre. It also investigates how contemporary comedies satirise the phenomenon of anarchist revolts and political kidnappings to reflect on present-day social problems.

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More information

Published date: December 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Film

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 374393
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/374393
PURE UUID: 796744a2-d2ac-456c-96cb-9b2eaa319bd5
ORCID for Tim Bergfelder: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6585-6123

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Date deposited: 17 Feb 2015 10:31
Last modified: 06 Aug 2019 00:36

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