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Displaced Person1981

  • 3.4
Daniel Eisenberg's film (or "memory essay," as theorist Nora Alter referred to DISPLACED PERSON) is a challenge to a conventional view of history, a provocation using traditional documentary forms: found footage, newsreels, a radio lecture of French anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss and Ludwig van Beethoven's "Razumovsky" quartets. Inspired by Marcel Ophuls' THE SORROW AND THE PITY, Eisenberg searches for his individual identity caught in the tides of history, fragments of memory repeated and collected, constructed and deconstructed. "The film resides as a third-hand statement in a second-hand world, a world of received knowledge, encoded consciously and unconsciously by the spoken word, the framed image and the interpreted musical phrase," Eisenberg wrote. "Its precautionary warning is: keep thinking, even when you cannot understand." - Stela Jelincic

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Member Reviews (3)

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top reviewer

Thankfully brief. Some interesting ideas. Unfortunately it misses the target. DP's were mostly non-Jews, so a better imago would have fit the theme better. I'm not disagreeing with the topic, just the context. Bottom line, it isn't very good, but it I s interesting.

180311.small
top reviewer

Layer upon layer of artifact: the contemplative philosophy of code, language, etc. as narrative, atop the classical music, against subtle looping of diffuse, low contrast silent film footage of German occupation in Paris ... a desire to make sense of identification with or of two identities, the French and the German -- and perhaps to make sense of the unspoken atrocities, as well as so many other irrationalities in the period of history.

The first of Eisenberg's films that I have seen, and it's certainly an unsettling concoction; the oft-stunning shots of Paris naturally rendered disturbing by the presence of Hitler and its original usage as propaganda.

The editing is the clear strength, as as Eisenberg focuses on minutiae, whether through zoom or repetition, Displaced Person becomes something hard to pin down. The Claude Levi Strauss playing throughout, though, is an unwelcome distraction, and takes away some of the film's potency - so much power is derived solely from the image alone, particularly in a haunting frame-by-frame sequence of a woman in a train window.