Phantasm of the Righteous and Agnieszka Holland’s film

Fantazmat „Sprawiedliwych”. i film "W ciemności" Agnieszki Holland
Phantasm of the Righteous and Agnieszka Holland’s film "In Darknes"

Author(s): Tomasz Żukowski
Subject(s): Theatre, Dance, Performing Arts
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: "W ciemności"; review

Summary/Abstract: The text analyses Agnieszka Holland’s film In Darkness against the background of the Polish discourse on the Righteous. The devices of this discourse are reconstructed on the basis of two documentary films: The Righteous by Ryszard Gontarz and Janusz Kidawa (1968) and The Story of the Kowalski by Arkadiusz Gołębiowski and Maciej Pawlicki (2009). The basic devices distinguished in the narrative of the Righteous are the following: 1. a symmetry between the Jewish and Polish suffering 2. lack of Jews’ gratefulness and solidarity (“we demonstrated solidarity as far as the sacrifice of life but they…”); 3. treating the Righteous as pars pro toto of the community (they become the proof of the “national character” of Poles; the motif of “the Righteous-anti-Semite”); 4. a conviction about Polish helplessness; 5. marginalisation of the Polish aggression against Jews (a viewpoint that apparently “the scum is everywhere” and the simultaneously expressed accusations that the victims were involved in the Holocaust themselves). Holland is not aware of the discursive mechanisms accumulating around the undertaken subject or the correlated stakes of the common imagination. Therefore, many fragments of In Darkness easily succumb to being captured by the prevailing, and in fact anti-Semitic, clichés of understanding the history. In effect, the phenomenon of unwanted comeback of phantasms occurs in reference to a narrative developed as an antidote for such.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 1-10
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Polish