Introduction
Costa-Gavras and microhistoriography: the case of Amen. (2002)
in The films of Costa-Gavras
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Amen. serves as a relevant case in point that illustrates Costa-Gavras’s cinematic microhistoriography. Costa-Gavras relies upon the transmediation of Rolf Hochhuth’s play The Deputy (1963) to film narrative, with an intention not to film the play, but rather to present a microhistory of the Final Solution. Costa-Gavras desires another form of history: not institutional, not a grand narrative, but a history that comes about through visual enactment of personal reactions. This approach to Holocaust history does not provide a wide sweep of diaspora, migrations, or even colonization; instead, Amen. makes the social and religious the personal by concentrating on the movements and reactions of the two protagonists, a Protestant SS officer Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur) and an Italian Catholic priest, Riccardo Fontana (Mathieu Kassovitz). As with his other films, Costa-Gavras stands out as a cinematic historiographer, one whose emphasis lies more in creating narrative than in sustaining ideology.

Editor: Homer B. Pettey

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