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The Banality of Benevolence: Archival Ambiguities in Pablo Larraín's No
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Pablo Larraín’s No (2012) is a semi-fictional account of the production process behind the 1988 television campaign that helped defeating Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. An estimated 30% of the film consists of archival footage, while the rest is shot on the obsolete analogue video format U-matic in order to match the archival materials. In her 2014 book The Archive Effect: Found Footage and the Audiovisual Experience of History, Jamie Baron suggests that the insertion of archival images into films is best understood from the point of view of their effect. Archival documents “exist as ‘archival’ only insofar as the viewer […] perceives certain documents within [a] film as coming from another, previous – and primary – context of use”. It follows that any confusion regarding these temporal relations also condition the archival documents’ historiographic function. Through videographic means, No’s archive effect is almost entirely and intentionally neutralised. Ideally, the audience loses the capacity to distinguish between the two original temporalities, so that “the archive becomes fiction and what is fiction becomes archive” (Larraín). This paper discusses the technological conditions, conceptual implications, and critical reactions to Larraín’s strategy. Drawing on Jean Baudrillard’s critique of historical film, the paper concludes that No’s playful neutralisation of the archive effect finally effects what Baudrillard calls the system’s “nihilism of neutralisation”, that is to say its “power to pour everything, including what denies it, into indifference.”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Cinema Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-141766OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-141766DiVA: diva2:1088824
Conference
FilmForum 2017 XV MAGIS Film Studies Spring School 29 March – 2 April, Gorizia
Available from: 2017-04-16 Created: 2017-04-16 Last updated: 2017-04-16

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  • apa
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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