By Kenneth Macksey
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Translated and brought by means of Ben Fowkes
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Extra resources for Afrika Korps
She has to rely on material fragments and affective evidence alone to vindicate her sister, just as Malous’s Hannah would comb through photographs and memento to try to tell her mother’s story. Marianne takes measurements and then restages her sister’s hanging, basically re-presenting it—much like the work that the ﬁlm itself does. The ﬁlm also mimics Marianne’s efforts to produce history infused with affect and personal subjectivity. Marianne and Juliane is punctuated by ﬂash- Mourning, Melancholia, and “New German Melodrama” / 47 backs to the two sisters’ childhood, another realm mediated by politicized events, particularly when Marianne recalls their horriﬁed response to watching Resnais’s 1955 Night and Fog.
If vertical excavation is a central trope for the attempts to dig out new histories in Kluge’s The Patriot, here the layers of repression are laterally sculpted into the mise-en-scène. The building in which Juliane is jailed reveals the material, institutional dimensions of the process. When Marianne visits, she enters through an initial series of doors, is then escorted by a guard into a room where she is strip-searched, brought out a door through a courtyard into a new building to a waiting room, and ﬁnally sees Juliane in the room next to that.
While the Shoah doubtlessly presents a case “at the limits of representation,” in Friedlander’s phrase, even in its most pared-down forms, history (including that of the Shoah) requires the displacements and distance of style. Raul Hilberg acknowledges the implications of this in his memoirs: “To portray the Holocaust, Claude Lanzmann [director of Shoah] once said to me, one has to create a work of art. To recreate this event, be it on ﬁlm or in a book, one must be a consummate artist, for such recreation is an act of creation in and of itself.
Afrika Korps by Kenneth Macksey