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The Documentation Centre of the RIRNM invites you on February 5, at 6 p.m. to the presentation of Melinda Blos Jáni (Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania) entitled Refiguring the communist past in East-European compilation documentaries.

Exploring the ethnographic potential of found footage documentary filmmaking and other archival film practices Catherine Russell states that: "its intertextuality is always also an allegory of history, a montage of memory traces, by which the filmmaker engages with the past through recall, retrieval and recycling" (1999. 238). Recent studies emphasize the self-reflexive, intermedial aspects of these films, as they inevitably draw attention to their film-making practice and their mediality. Furthermore, this type of documentary is closely bound to the archive, as it offers multiple readings of archive film material, and it is distinguished by W Wees as compilation film (versus collage and appropriation films). These compilation documentaries construct a visual history, exploring the relationship between the archive and the present, between the indexicality of the moving image and its representational limits, thus they become a reflection on the act of filmmaking itself. The presentation will investigate East European compilation documentaries dealing with the communist past: Videograms of a Revolution (Harun Farocki, Andrei Ujică, 1992), The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu (Andrei Ujică, 2010), The Life of an Agent, Budepest Retro I-II. (Papp Gábor Zsigmond, 2002-2004), One Day in People's Poland (Maciej Drygas, 2006), Once in the XXth Century, Into the Unknown (Deimantas Narkevicius, 2004, 2009). While all these films recycle similar archival records (propaganda films, educational documentaries, newsreels and amateur films), the documentary effect is achieved through different authorial solutions and through a plenitude of representational acts. The presentation examines the ways in which this process of refashioning or remediation achieves/manages (through their highly mediated images) to get beyond representation and makes the viewers to experience the „reality" of history.