History is a science of traces, and it is the trace that ‘orients the hunt, the quest, the search, the inquiry’ (Ricoeur, 1988). In documentary art the temporal contingency of the trace affects the quest in many ways, and cinematic imagination also operates beyond narrative discourse. The interrelation of trace-memory-imagination so crucial for the ‘telling’ of the past (Ricoeur, 2004) crystallizes differently in cinematic enactments of lived time. Susana de Sousa Dias’ films Natureza Morta. Visages d’une Dictature (2005) and 48 (2009) relate to Fascism and colonialism (the Portuguese context of Salazar’s dictatorship 1926-1974). A conceptualization of cultural memory and forgetting meets with a ‘montage in temporal depth’ (De Sousa Dias, 2015), and the sounding memory work of these films suggest ‘a deeply cinematic form of historiography’ (Skoller, 2005). In dialogue with reflections on ‘the first person plural’ (Lebow, 2012), on mourning of a traumatic past, the aesthetics and agency of ‘pensive images’ (Rancière, 2009), the aims of this presentation are: 1/ To desacralize the trace and to acknowledge the enacted audiovisual trace as a vector for cinematic imagination, 2/ To underscore the role of listening and the ‘sounding’ of edited voices and cinematic silence.
References De Sousa Dias, Susana (2015), ’(In)visible Evidence: The Representability of Tirture’ in Juhasz, Alexandra and Lebow, Alisa eds., A Companion to Contemporary Documentary Film. Malden and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Lebow, Alisa, ed. (2012), The Cinema of Me. The Self and Subjectivity in First Person Documentary. London and NY: Wallflower Press. Rancière, Jacques, (2009), The Emancipated Viewer. London: Verso Ricoeur, Paul (2004), Memory, History, Forgetting. Translated by Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. Skoller, Jeffrey (2005), Shadows, Spectres, Shards. Making History in Avant-Garde Film. London and Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press