European Civil War Films
Memory, Conflict, and Nostalgia
Routledge – 2012 – 196 pages
This book examines the ways in which late twentieth-century European cinema deals with the neglected subject of civil war. Exploring a range of films about the Spanish, Irish, former Yugoslavia, and Greek civil wars, this comparative and interdisciplinary study engages with contemporary debates in cultural memory and investigates the ways in which cinematic postmemory is problematic. Many of the films present an idealized past that glosses over the reality of these civil wars, at times producing a nostalgic discourse of loss and longing. Other films engage with the past in a melancholic fashion. These cinematic discourses articulate contemporary concerns, especially the loss of ideology and a utopian political horizon in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989, a date that marks a significant break in European history and an accompanying paradigm shift in European cultural memory.
Filmmakers examined include Trueba, Cuerda, Loach, Jordan, Kusturica, Dragojevic, and Angelopoulos.
'…it is… an important contribution to the debate on memory, conflict, and nostalgia in the context of European war films. Making these rich and complex cinematic accomplishments accessible to a wider audience, Kosmidou’s work provides a valuable source of information for further exploration of the subject.' Agustín Rico-Albero, Council for European Studies
1. Introduction 2. Collective and Cultural Memory and their Limitations: Postmemory and Cinematic Modes of Representations 3. The Spanish Civil War: Cinematic Postmemories of the ‘Last Great Cause’ 4. Cinematic Representations of the Irish Civil War: Michael Collins and The Wind That Shakes the Barley 5. Cinematic Representations of the Former Yugoslavian Civil War: Underground and No Man's Land 6. Representation of the Greek Civil War in Theo Angelopoulos’s The Travelling Players: The Uses of Intertextuality 7. Conclusion
Eleftheria Rania Kosmidou is Lecturer in Film Studies, University of Salford, UK.