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Bert Ingelaere

The gacaca process was introduced in Rwandan society to deal with the legacy of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi. Empirically informed research points to the ambiguous and ambivalent attitudes of participants regarding testimonial activities, namely the search for the truth. Hence the questions: what does the gacaca experience reveal about this elusive and multidimensional notion called ‘the truth’? And, what does ‘the truth’ as experienced by Rwandans reveal about the nature of the gacaca process? This article aims to answer these questions by identifying and qualifying the different styles of truth at work in the gacaca process, namely the forensic truth, the moral truth, the effectual truth and, the Truth-with-a-Capital-T. The first is a consequence of the design of the court system, the second is derived from the socio-cultural context, the third is a consequence of the decentralised milieu in which the gacaca courts were inserted, the fourth is the result of the overall political context in which the gacaca activities took place. This process of assembling these different styles of truths is conceptualised through the notion of agencement that captures the intricate interplay of agency and structure, contingency and structuration, change and organisation shaping the gacaca process.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe

This roundtable took place on 16 January 2020, at the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war in Biafra. It brought together Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka and Kevin O’Sullivan. The roundtable was organised and chaired by Bertrand Taithe, University of Manchester.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Film Studies
Adelaide McGinity-Peebles

This article focuses on Angelina Nikonova’s debut film Twilight Portrait (Portret v sumerkakh, 2011) and analyses the trajectory of the ‘difficult’ female protagonist, Marina (Ol´ga Dykhovichnaia), in relation to the spaces she inhabits and reclaims within the film. The article argues that, despite the incredulity and hostility that she inspires both on-screen and off-screen, Marina symbolises a complex, wider struggle for women’s sovereignty within the deeply patriarchal context of contemporary Russian society. In so doing, it shows that the film’s sustained, albeit ambiguous, probing of gendered hierarchies and institutions renders the film an important contribution to Russian cinema and, also, to the wider feminist filmmaking and feminist cultural discourse.

Film Studies
Reframing Experience in Harun Farocki’s Eye/Machine Series
Alba Gimenez

Harun Farocki’s Eye/Machine (2003) is a video installation which analyses how what Farocki calls ‘the operational image’ reconfigures our visual regimes. The ‘operational image’ allows machines to operate ever more autonomously and to perform their tasks with no need for human supervision. Farocki links the birth of such operational images to the missiles with integrated cameras used during the Gulf War (1991) and therefore to military purposes. Eye/Machine poses a paradox: operational images generate a process of abstraction in which the image depicted (in the case of the war, the battlefield) gets detached from its indexical dimension, appearing as abstract and unreal. However, such detachment can be reversed when these images are recontextualised and reframed within an exhibition space, since that places them within a human experiential framework. Images, and our perception of them, are part of what Judith Butler calls the ‘extended materiality of war’. Thus, war is not only fought in the battlefield, but also at the level of the senses.

Film Studies
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Difficult Women: Fame, Film, Feminism and Fury
Film Studies
Asia Argento as an Italian Difficult Woman
Giovanna Maina, Federico Zecca, Danielle Hipkins, and Catherine O’Rawe

This article offers a reconstruction of the birth of Asia Argento’s star image, with specific reference to the Italian context. Through an analysis of the media discourses that circulated around the actress in the early phase of her career (from the end of the 1980s to the 2000s), we can trace the evolution of her star image from enfant prodige of Italian cinema, and youth icon, to that of the ‘anti-star’ who strongly divides public opinion, owing to her unruliness on and off-screen. The article concludes that her pre-existing association with sexual transgression inflected how her behaviour with Harvey Weinstein and Jimmy Bennett was interpreted in the Italian public sphere.

Film Studies
Creating an Inclusive Film Industry through Reclaiming The Frame
Fiona Handyside

In this interview with Mia Bays (Birds’ Eye View), we discuss the recent Reclaim The Frame project, a UK-wide touring programme that showcases female-directed or -scripted films, usually new or recent releases. The interview explores the idea that this kind of curation is a necessary feminist intervention in the contemporary British cinema circuit, one that offers audiences agency and acknowledges that initiatives in film production alone are not sufficient to shift structural inequalities in the film industry. The piece begins with some contextual detail before turning to my discussion with Bays.

Film Studies