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Commemorating TraumaThe Paris Commune and Its Cultural Aftermath$
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Peter Starr

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226030

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823226030.001.0001

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The Filmic Commune

The Filmic Commune

(p.169) 7 The Filmic Commune
Commemorating Trauma

Peter Starr

Fordham University Press

The author's aim in this chapter is to examine the afterlife of this complex articulation of confusion, melancholy, and futurity in what are arguably the two most notable films in a surprisingly thin body of cinematic work on the Paris Commune. In its implicit portrayal of the October Revolution of 1917 as both the return and the realization of Communard ideals Grigory Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg's remarkable New Babylon of 1929 practices a standard Soviet-era futurity. When British filmmaker Peter Watkins looks back on the Commune from the vantage of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the grounds for melancholy have shifted appreciably. Watkins's film points to an overcoming of that melancholy through a process of democratic self-realization it finds inherent both in the Commune as historical event and in the very process of that event's filmic elaboration.

Keywords:   confusion, melancholy, futurity, Paris Commune, Grigory Kozintsev, Leonid Trauberg, New Babylon, Peter Watkins, film

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