Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Letters and Arts
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The Other in Aferim! by Radu Jude: The Linguistic Dimension of Racism
Abstract: Following the general problematics of reformulating the concepts of “discourse” and “narrative” and treating cinematic products as textual objects, with incursions into the 21st century cinema as a realist-expositional medium of the social problems of the Other, the present paper aims, by contextualizing the film Aferim! (2015) by Radu Jude, to analyze the relationship between language, language and race, racialization, and representation. In short, it aims to analyze the position of linguistic racism in the admitted “realistic” and artistic presentation of the process of marginalization. Such academic analyses have become present internationally, especially with the development of the linguistic dimension of postcolonial studies and the emergence and expansion of the concept of political correctness and/or cultural sensitivity in the contemporary socio-cultural discourse, especially in direct relation to language, language, and visual media of artistic transposition. We must be remembered, however, that Roma people occupy a marginal place even in postcolonial analysis of otherness. In the Romanian space, with a strong intertextual character, Aferim! occupies a privileged place precisely because of the primacy given to the theme: the Roma slavery in the 19th century Wallachia, during the year 1853, which is a key-year, considering that the formal abolition of slavery took place only three years later, in 1856, in Wallachia. Intentionally subversive, Jude takes the historical form of the popular films from the communist period and turns it against itself, while also adding the American-inspired aesthetic of Westerns. The multiplicity of perspectives is present, but the „intimacy” belongs to the white, oppressive characters, putting the viewer in an uncomfortable position that belongs to them historically. Following the results of the quantitative study of the present work, where the most often used word is „cocoane” [lord] in all its declined versions, Aferim! is thus a film about power dynamics, a dynamic in which the Roma are the Other.
Keywords: colonialism, linguistic racism, Roma slavery, Roma, quantitative studies.
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