Beate BinderRoland Ibold

Images of Porajmos

Filmic practices of remembering and struggles for recognition in post-1989 Romania


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A series of documentary films since 1989 have offered accounts of the deportation of about 25,000 Roma to Transnistria under the government of Marshal Ion Antonescu. They are, thus, a contribution toward documenting the role of Romania in the Porajmos, the persecution and annihilation of Roma during the Second World War, through interviews with contemporary witnesses and archive materials. Using three examples, this article discusses the commonalities and differences between these films regarding their origins, cinematic means of expression and modes of reception, showing the ways in which they participate in the re-figuration of historical narratives and historical points of reference. This analysis pays special attention to the extent to which the films support the struggles of Roma in Romania for recognition beyond what is shown on the screen. Even if only to a limited extent, the films can create a “space of resonance” that serves to negotiate the continuities of Roma marginalization. The analysis is based on ethnographic research conducted at film screenings in Romania and interviews with the filmmakers.

anthropological film analysis, politics of history, Holocaust, Roma, Romania