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Traumatic truths, enacted emotions in Auf wiedersehen Finnland (Suutari 2010)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What happens when “Hitler’s Brides”, Finnish women who fraternized with German soldiers, finally, after 60 years of silence, agree to tell their stories in public? During the Second World War, 200 000 German soldiers were in stationed Northern Finland to fight against Soviet Union, first as allies, then as enemies at war with Finns. Some hundreds of Finnish women socialized with the German soldiers and after the war, followed their lovers to Germany. Some stayed there for a longer while, many returned and were imprisoned or placed in a quarantine camp after their arrival. Auf Wiedersehen Finnland features four women and one son who testify about the stigma, shame and silence.In this paper, I discuss Auf Wiedersehen Finnland as a cross-over between historical and intimate documentary, confronting and engaging with gendered national politics of memory. Discussing the film in the intersection between documentary studies, affect theory and memory studies, the paper focuses on how the experiences of trauma and the processes of shaming and being shamed are enacted and re-enacted in this film, how the speaking subjects and the frames of social memory are staged and framed. Bringing the question of affect to discussions about enactment/re-enactment in documentary as “the thrill of the real” (André Bazin) and “the spectacle of actuality” (Elizabeth Cowie), this paper poses questions about the politics of affective history. While asking how the documentary in its invitation to the women to confess and tell their story becomes an agent of the nation, inviting viewers into a community of feeling, the paper also asks how the film at the same time disturbs national memory, interrogating its constitutive silences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
documentary cinema, memory, trauma, Second World War, Virpi Suutari, Finland
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Cinema Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-99574OAI: diva2:687263
Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) 2013 Conference Chicago March 6-10, 2013
Moving Experiences: Affective Turns in Cinema and Media Studies Forskningsfinansiär
Swedish Research Council, 1458901
Available from: 2014-01-13 Created: 2014-01-13 Last updated: 2015-12-22Bibliographically approved

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Koivunen, Anu
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