Friday 03rd of December 2021

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Tecnologie del trauma e i limiti dell’empatia in The Secret Life of Words (Isabel

Coixet, 2005)

 

Rita Monticelli, Università di Bologna pdf_icon_30x30

 

rita.monticelli(at)unibo.it

 

Abstract: The Secret Life of Words (Director Isabel Coixet, 2005) respects the ontological paradox of traumatic events: trauma is a wound within oneself that cries out to be heard, but at the same time it cannot be expressed, as it is a fracture in the continuity of the cognitive experience (either individual or collective). The film shows the technological devices that mediate and “transmit” the trauma: it is only through the traumatic experience of the other and the different elements of mediation that Hanna – a survivor from the wars in the former Yugoslavia - and Josef - wounded in a fire on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean - can recognize their own trauma. Coixet uses cinema as a third space, as a platform for the elaboration of the relationship not only between voice and silence, which is distinctive, for example, of cinema and feminist discourse, but also on sound and acoustics. Central is the narrative that replaces the visual, to signal the refusal of a voyeuristic attitude, and to reveal the limits of the representation of trauma. Above all, the narrative expresses the necessity of an empathic listening, yet respecting the limits of an impossible, complete identification with the pain of others. At the same time, the film testifies to the need to remember and to witness the traumas of history.


 

 

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