Despite critics' attempts to read a work of mourning unfolding in films about the Red Army Faction (RAF) with respect to two traumatic histories (the National Socialist [NS] past and the German Autumn), this article examines how such films as Germany in Autumn, The Patriot, and Leaden Times are implicated in a “narrative fetish,” an attempt to reconfigure traumatic history to circumvent an authentic work of mourning. Two “tics” recur throughout these RAF films: first, a compulsive return to Holocaust images, such as those screened in Alain Resnais's Night and Fog; second, the framing of the question of mourning through the figure of Antigone, whereby a female character explores the interplay between terrorism and NS crimes. Not only are the RAF members depicted as trying to liberate Germany from the NS past by rebelling against what they considered its continuation in the present, but they themselves are configured as both the new Jewish victims and the agents who mourn the Holocaust dead. The ultimate gesture in this study is to take a step beyond this Antigone paradigm as it pertains to the discourse of mourning and melancholia in relation to postwar German history.
Eric Kligerman; The Antigone Effect: Reinterring the Dead of Night and Fog in the German Autumn. New German Critique 1 February 2011; 38 (1 (112)): 9–38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2010-021
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