- This dissertation reconsiders the representation of women in Claude Lanzmann's Shoah. While Lanzmann's documentary, which excludes archival images entirely, established a new paradigm for the limits of representation, feminist readings have persisted in decrying the limited visual presence of women in the film. Shifting the value from the image to the voice—and from the visible to the hors-champ (out-of-field)—I make a case for the cinematic significance of absence by mapping the acoustic spectrum which renders women present despite their invisibility. "Sound inhabits the out-of-field," writes Gilles Deleuze, and I argue that Shoah, in turn, is traversed by the voices of women—both spoken and remembered. More than figures of absence, vocal representations of women trace a path toward the unrepresentable image that haunts the film in its entirety: death itself. The threshold between the visible and the invisible, death can only be designated as a limit or passage. In Shoah, women tread between the image and its absence: the testimonies of the four women survivors in the film, which culminate in an untranslated song in Yiddish; the appearance and disappearance of the interpreters (all women), whose voices weave through the film, pointing to the displacement of one language to another and to what is irreparably lost in translation; the men who remember women—and their words—inside the gas chambers. Probing this intimacy of image and absence, I have been led to study the film's outtakes currently archived at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The most outstanding feature of these interviews is the ever-unstated but always present choices that constitute the film as it stands, but are themselves both unseen and unvoiced; any critical reflection on the film must concern itself with its making—that is, the arbitration between visibility and invisibility, presence and absence, montage and archive.
- Cazenave, Jennifer.
Includes filmography (p. 391-400).
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Northwestern University, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 373-390).
Photocopy. Ann Arbor, Mich. : UMI Dissertation Services, 2011. 22 cm.
Dissertations and Theses