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Radu Jude’s Montage Experiments with Documents of Oppression and Mass Murder

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Radu Jude’s Montage Experiments with Documents of Oppression and Mass Murder

Abstract: The article discusses critically the following films—short and feature-length—by Radu Jude: The Dead Nation (2017), The Marshal’s Two Executions (2018), Punish and Discipline (2019), Uppercase Print (2020), The Exit of the Trains (2020), Caricaturana (2021), Memories from the Eastern Front (2021), and The Potemkinists (2022). In four of them—The Dead Nation, The Marshal’s Two Executions, The Exit of the Trains and Memories from the Eastern Front (the last two co-directed with historian Adrian Cioflâncă)—Jude cinematically curates Holocaustrelated archives, exposing Romanian antisemitic atrocities. Uppercase Print and Punish and Discipline explore state apparatuses of repression from other periods in Romanian history, while The Marshal’s Two Executions and The Potemkinists interrogate the relation between art and historical memory. A number of these films work by juxaposing two different sets of documents, using one set to tease out a narrative that the other set represses. Jude himself has described these works “as timid explorations” into the possibilities of montage (possibilities that the New Romanian Cinema of the 2000s had largely neglected), presided over by the spirit of Sergei Eisenstein. That spirit is explicitly (and playfully) conjured in Caricaturana and The Potemkinists . Keywords: Radu Jude, antisemitism, Holocaust, found footage, montage, Eisenstein, Gianina Cărbunariu, Adrian Cioflâncă, archives, archival documentary, historical memory, politics of history.

Citation suggestion: Gorzo, Andrei, and Veronica Lazăr. “Radu Jude’s Montage Experiments with Documents of Oppression and Mass Murder.” Transilvania, no. 9 (2022): 1-14. https://doi.org/10.51391/trva.2022.09.01.

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