Remembering Through Images
Cinema is viewed as an arena in which diverse representations compete with one another, and this arena is significant in terms of engaging in political struggle. Stuart Hall underlines that representation is the primary continuum in order to comprise social meanings. Michael Ryan and Douglas Kellner place emphasis on representations that are composed during the course of interpretation. According to Ryan and Kellner, movies, within their context, gain sense along with their relevance to other movies, their urges, fears and concerns are designated by representations and transmitted knowledge through the collective memory of earlier eras. Turkish cinema since the 1990s provides an abundant range where different voices can be recognised, distinctive representations take place and the audience can put forward ideas regarding which world view, social and political vision these representations point at. The wealth tax applied to ethnic minority communities during the 1940s was the main motif in Tomris Giritlioglu’s films Salkım Hanımın Taneleri (1999) and Güz Sancısı - Pains of Autumn (2009). Both movies are about the İstanbul Pogrom, directed against minorities on 6-7th September 1955, representation of the attacks on minorities and their properties. Another movie, Çamur - Mud (Derviş Zaim, 2003), focuses on the division between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities and the social trauma experienced after the division in Cyprus. Bulutları Beklerken – Waiting for Clouds (Yeşim Ustaoğlu, 2005) tells the story of a Greek woman of Turkish citizenship who was forced to hide her identity. Considering these movies together, we can draw the conclusion that one of the main interests for recent Turkish movies is “dealing with the past”. Atom Egoyan’s Ararat (2002) plays a part simply because it is about the “Armenian Genocide”. Based on this perspective and on those three movies (Waiting For Clouds, Mud and Ararat), this paper will analyse how the past is reconstructed through these movies. This work will also aim to answer questions such as: How do images function as vehicles of collective memory? How do images help us to remember? Is there a way of representing trauma? Moreover, the relationship between cinema and representation will be viewed in the context of earlier stories, essentially opening a new debate in respect of the “possibilities and restrictions of past representations”, and placing cinema within the context of collective memory.