SKOPIN D.A. Claude Lanzmann and Georges Didi-Huberman: Two Theories of Representing the 20th - Century Inhuman Experience

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2015.2.8

Skopin Denis Aleksandrovich

Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Associate Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Synthesis in Social and Humanitarian Sciences,

Saint Petersburg State University

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Universitetskaya Emb., 7-9, 199034, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation


Abstract. In the present academic paper the author analyzes two different points of view on the role played by the image in the representation of one of the most tragic events in contemporary history, that of the Holocaust. According to Claude Lanzmann, French filmmaker and the author of the famous documentary “Shoah”, the image is not able to tell us the truth about the Holocaust. The reality of the Holocaust is beyond the power of the image and our imagination is not able to reach the “sublime” experience. Lanzmann’s argumentation is very close to that of J-F. Lyotard in the “Discord”, who believes that all direct representations of the Shoah are doomed to failure. The only way to represent the Holocaust events is to make speak the eyewitnesses, as Lanzmann did in his film. This point of view is criticized by Georges Didi-Huberman in his book “Images in spite of all”. He tells the story of four photographs taken in Auschwitz by prisoners in 1944 and argues that the images can play a very important role in getting the historical truth as they depict the very truth of those tragic moments. As for the imagination, it also takes part in the building of our historical picture.

Key words: history of the 20th century, Holocaust, witness, representation, photography, movie.

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Claude Lanzmann and Georges Didi-Huberman: Two Theories of Representing the 20th - Century Inhuman Experience by Skopin D.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

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