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Re-presenting Histories: Documentary Film and Architectural Ruins in Brutality in Stone

Guerin, Frances (2021) Re-presenting Histories: Documentary Film and Architectural Ruins in Brutality in Stone. Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, (21). pp. 13-34. ISSN 2009-4078. (doi:10.33178/alpha.21.01) (KAR id:89671)


This article rereads Alexander Kluge and Peter Schamoni’s short film Brutality in Stone (1961) in light of more contemporary scholarly interest in the architectural ruin. This leads to an analysis that challenges or recasts cinematic assumptions about the past. I begin my analysis through attention to Brutality in Stone’s radical strategies of montage, marriage of archival stills and newly shot documentary moving images, merging of real and imagined, past and present, sound and image. These formal strategies are observed through the lens of theories of ruin, Kluge’s own writings on cinema and history, references to the historiography of Nazi architecture, and contemporary theories of ruination in architecture. I then reveal the film as a type of counter-memory, promoting a critical awareness of, rather than espousing an ideologically motivated enthusiasm for the histories and memories of the past as they have been represented in architectural monuments, and cinematic and historical narratives. Specifically, a contemporary reconsideration of Brutality in Stone contributes to rethinking the relationship to the ongoing lessons of German history and its cinematic representation in the contemporary moment. Keeping alive the memories of the past has never been more urgent as we move into a historical moment when memories of the Nazi past are becoming ever dimmer.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.33178/alpha.21.01
Subjects: N Visual Arts
N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Frances Guerin
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2021 19:36 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 16:53 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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