Trauma, Memory and Confinement: (Re)presentations of Space in Dictatorial Cinema


This project is interested in the different ways that cinema presents and also re-presents spaces of confinement from the spanish and argentine dictatorships. Each of these dictatorships were marked by the disappearances of thousands of people, imprisonment/torture of women, and child abuse. Specifically, our research centers on how documentaries and fiction films construct and portray spaces in their work and the impact these spaces have on the narrative and, ultimately, what it implicitly communicates to the audience about state-induced trauma. We define presentation as the depiction of a traumatic event as it happened. Like the idea of representation, re-presentation depicts or portrays something (in this case, spaces of confinement). However, we distinguish between the two in that re-presentation includes a deliberate choice to redefine or interpret that space.

There is a strong interaction between physical, emotional, and memory spaces that intersects and often contradicts the state-sponsored ‘official’ story. The line of questioning to be explored is how these films disrupt the official story and, specifically regarding the documentaries, what ideology they promote in the process of reparation and re-presentation. Using Scalar as the digital platform for this project, we represent the often fragmented narrative of trauma and highlight the differences and similarities in cinematic and documentary representation of both the spanish and argentine cases. Most clearly, the digital platform provides an opportunity for the project itself to construct a space for the varied spatial representations in the films.

While this project is written in English, many of our sources were originally in Spanish. In situations where quotes or transcripts are written in Spanish, translations into English are also included.


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