Aufschub (Respite, Harun Farocki, 2007)

Moving images from Westerbork, a Dutch transit camp during WWII (starting 1942) are first shown accompanied by intertitles giving them one possible interpretation, then reprised, with Farocki issuing different hypothesis regarding their meaning and intention. With Aufschub, Farocki reminds the viewers that they should pay the utmost attention to the way in which images (of WWII camps and not only) are handled, manipulated, contextualized. The viewer should adopt a critical attitude towards what he is seeing and, should the maker of the film and the maker of the material used not coincide, as in this case (Farocki’s Aufschub makes use of footage shot by Rudolph Breslauer, a German photographer of Jewish descent, who was killed in Auschwitz in 1945), he/she should question both the primary material and the way in which it was dealt with. At the same time, Farocki seems to deliver a documentation of the impressions and questions that viewing Breslauer’s footage aroused in him.

 

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