Place & memory


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Slides from a review/analysis of the documentary film Night & Fog, and a seminar on place and memory.

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  • Slideshare ate the tamil. This slide (Title slide/Slide 1) should have the following lines:

    'எக்கர் ஞாழல் புள்ளிமிழ் அகன்துறை இனிய செய்த நின்றுபின் முனிவு செய்த இவள் தடமெல் தோளே.'
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  • Each landscape has flowers associated with it.Landscapes are not specifically mentioned, but by referencing unique features of landscapes (such as a flower, or a bird, or the situation (first contact/first love = kurinji, infidelity = marutham) poets recalled place, created associations with landscapes in mind of the reader.
  • Night & Fog Decree (Nacht und Nebel) was signed by Adolf Hitler on 7th December 1941 – the season of evening dew. The movie Night & Fog was shot in Autumn – corresponding to the cool season of TamilnaduAgain, time or seasons are “painted” in the minds of the readers as a means of association with landscapes.
  • Place & memory

    1. 1. Ammuvanar,Ainkurunuru (500 short poems) 142-145,
    2. 2. Her soft plump shouldersthat gave you pleasure onceon the sands where seabirds made a din on the tigerclaw treeare now angry Ammuvanar, Ainkurunuru (500 short poems) 142-145, translated by A.K Ramanujan
    4. 4. Two broad classification of Tamil poems• Akam (Inside, internal, heart, home)• Puram (Outside, external, body, public areas)• Akam poems are about love. About ones own quest to be with what one’s heart desires• Puram poems are of war, of public events and discourses, a quest for territory and fame
    5. 5. The five landscapes of Tamil Nadu• Kurinji – Hills and hilly areas• Mullai - Forests• Neythal/Neytal - Coasts• Marutham – River-fed plains• Palai – Deserts/dry wilderness
    6. 6. The six seasons of Tamil country• Rains (August – September)• Cool season (October – November)• Evening Dew (December – January)• Morning Dew (February – March)• Early Summer (April – May)• Late/High Summer (June – July)
    7. 7. Sign, signified, signifier• Every sign is a union of the signifier and the signified. In the Tamil system of correspondences, a whole language of signs is created by relating the landscapes as signifiers to the appropriate human feelings. A.K Ramanujan, in 1985
    8. 8. With the festival hour close at hand,his woman in labour,a sun setting behind pouring rains,the needle in the cobbler’s handis in a frenzystitching thongs for a cot swifter, far swifter, were the tackles of our lord wearing garlands of laburnum as he wrestled with the enemy come all the way to take this land Cattantaiyar on Porvaikkoperunar Killi, Purananuru (Puram 400) 82 Translated by A.K Ramanujan
    9. 9. Going back to Nacht und Nebel• Invokes suppressed memories for those who were there/then• For those who weren’t around, it sets context and taps into “tribal memory” to invoke reaction• Much like Tamil poetry, it uses minimal “text” to maximum impact.
    10. 10. Nuit et brouillard• Beautiful landscapes create the contrast to its dark past.
    11. 11. Questions• How is memory of a place invoked?• If you had to “see” a place in your mind, what would trigger this vision?• Do people (poets, filmmakers) have to paint the full picture of a place for you to know the place? Or would a small piece do?
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