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Cinema's AlchemistThe Films of Péter Forgács$
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Bill Nichols and Michael Renov

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816648740

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816648740.001.0001

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The Memory of Loss

The Memory of Loss

Péter Forgács’s Saga of Family Life and Social Hell

(p.39) 2 The Memory of Loss
Cinema's Alchemist

Péter Forgács

Bill Nichols

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter addresses the representation of historical events and the specific means by which Péter Forgács sidesteps the conventions of both historical narratives (fiction) and traditional documentary (nonfiction). Like the early documentarians of the 1920s, Forgács returns to the avant-garde, a modernist tradition, for much of his inspiration. Through his film The Maelstrom: A Family Chronicle, Forgács uses salvaged images to provide a vivid glimpse of a lost world. The improvised scenes, spontaneous gestures, and concrete situations were not designed as indicators of broad historical forces but as animated mementos of personal history. Forgács conducts a séance in which these figures serve as mediums through whom we can see and hear the voice of times past speak again today.

Keywords:   representation, historical events, Péter Forgács, historical narratives, traditional documentary, fiction, nonfiction, personal history

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