Screen Memories: Trauma, Repetition, and Survival in Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker
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Sidney Lumet’s Hollywood production of The Pawnbroker in the early sixties based upon a novel of the same name (and released during the same period the Eichmann trial gained traction in Europe and Israel) significantly exceeded films of the preceding decade in America where the Holocaust was commonly presented more swiftly and obliquely. Few historians of the treatment of the Holocaust in American cinema would deny its endurance as an icon of America’s engagement with the European past. This chapter argues that Lumet’s post war “screening of the Holocaust” acquires a new depth and urgency today in the post 9/11 era where liberal democracy would once again appear trumped (if not entirely banished) by private devastations and shifting local and global cultural alignments.
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