When, at the end of the 20th century, Jean-Luc Godard concluded his monumental audiovisual enterprise Histoire(s) du cinema (1988-1998), discussions about film history and the historicity of cinema were challenged as they had never been challenged before. The starting point of the present deliberation focuses on Godard’s well-known belief that one of the never-fulfilled but nevertheless key potentials of cinema is the fact that it has never managed (or wanted) to present us with the Holocaust. The inability to imagine the Nazi’s “final solution” – the inability which, within the search for a resolution of the traumatic facts of the past, is heightened by the opposition between the presumptions of the unrepresentability or overrepresentability of the final solution – will be examined through the conceptual prism of Walter Benjamin’s dialectical image. The key aspects of Godard’s methodology (perceived as the “dramaturgy of double dialectics” by Jacques Rancière) will be explained as a realization of certain preconditions that Roland Barthes, while exploring the concept of the third sense, underlines as inevitable for the “birth of cinema into its maturity”.
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