Representing the Unrepresentable: The Army of Crime and Biopic Generic Conventions of Identity
In his poetry, Irving Feldman enacts the breakdown of language, representation and history in the face of the Holocaust, and the inability to represent the unrepresentable. While cinema has prolifically sought to represent the Holocaust through the biopic genre, this has typically occurred through personal stories that are easier to come to grips with, such as biopics about resistance fighters, saviours and heroic martyrs. In this manner, such biopics enact what Agnes Heller has called talking ‘around’ the Holocaust, rather than about or ‘through’ the Holocaust itself. This technique recuperates historical and national representation through the personal biopic, however also calls into question the conventions of the biopic form, which privileges individual stories above those who cannot be represented, recalled, remembered, or even known. This chapter analyses the French biopic film Army of Crime (L'Armée du crime, 2009), which explores the lives of French resistance fighters known as the ‘Manouchian Group’, to examine the tension that exists between personal and collective representation in the biopic genre when it comes to issues of historical representation and identity. It suggests and argues that this film both demonstrates and interrogates biopic generic conventions of identity, situating it within the wider critical framework of the biopic genre and the representation of history.
Citation : Shachar, H. (2019) ‘Representing the Unrepresentable: The Army of Crime and Biopic Generic Conventions of Identity’. In: Cartmell, Deborah, and Polasek, Ashley D. (eds.) A Companion to the Biopic, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 191-208.
ISBN : 9781119554813
Research Institute : Institute of English
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities