Advertisement

Implicit Criminologies in the Filmic Representations of Genocide

  • Mark Bostock
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)

Abstract

The popular success of commercial films depicting events of mass atrocity is the theme of this contribution. Films on the theme of the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide, for example, demonstrate a demand amongst audiences for a cinematic experience of genocide. The author addresses the extent to which filmic representations of genocide include elements that purport to elucidate the causes, organisation and perpetration of such events of mass atrocity. Genocide films tend to harbour implicit criminologies and it is to those that attention is directed in this contribution. A reflective documentary analysis is conducted on the films Schindler’s List (Spielberg, 1993), Conspiracy (Pierson, 2001), Hotel Rwanda (George, 2004) and Sometimes in April (Peck, 2005). These films enable the exploration of representations which chronicle the experience of genocide from the perspectives of victims, perpetrators and bystanders.

Keywords

Implicit criminology Film Ethnic genocide Modern genocide 

Films

  1. Conspiracy. (2001). [DVD] Frank Pierson. Dir. UK/Germany: BBC/HBO.Google Scholar
  2. Hotel Rwanda. (2004). [DVD] Terry George. Dir. Rwanda/South Africa: United Artists.Google Scholar
  3. Schindler’s List. (1993). [DVD] Steven Spielberg. Dir. Poland: Universal Pictures.Google Scholar
  4. Sometimes in April. (2005). [DVD] Raoul Peck. Dir. Rwanda: HBO.Google Scholar

References

  1. Alvarez, A. (2010). Genocidal Crimes. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, H. (1963). Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  3. Avisar, I. (1988). Screening the Holocaust: Cinema’s Images of the Unimaginable. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bartov, O. (1997). Spielberg’s Oskar: Hollywood Tries Evil. In Y. Loshitzky (Ed.), Spielberg’s Holocaust: Critical Perspectives on Schindler’s List. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bauman, Z. (1989). Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  6. Benford, R. D., & Snow, D. A. (2000). Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 611–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, M., & Rafter, N. (2013). Genocide Films, Public Criminology, Collective Memory. British Journal of Criminology, 53(6), 1017–1032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chaudhuri, S. (2014). Cinema of the Dark Side: Atrocity and the Ethics of Film Spectatorship. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen, S. (2001). States of Denial: Knowing About Atrocities and Suffering. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  10. Destexhe, A. (1995). Rwanda and Genocide in the Twentieth Century. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dirks, T. (n.d.). Filmsite Movie Review: Schindler’s List (1993). Filmsite.org. Online at http://www.filmsite.org/schi.html.
  12. Gigliotti, S. (2007). Commissioning Mass Murder: Conspiracy and History at the Wanesse Conference. In M. Paris (Ed.), Repicturing the Second World War. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. Gonshak, H. (2015). Hollywood and the Holocaust. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  14. Hintjens, H. M. (1999). Explaining the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 37(2), 241–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hron, M. (2012). Genres of “Yet an Other Genocide”: Cinematic Representations of Rwanda. In K. M. Wilson & T. F. Crowder-Taraborrelli (Eds.), Film and Genocide. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kelman, H. C., & Hamilton, V. L. (1989). Crimes of Obedience: Toward a Social Psychology of Authority and Responsibility. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kiernan, B. (2007). Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Klawans, S. (2008, December 5). Lest We Remember: Saying “Never Again” to Holocaust Movies. Tablet. Online at http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/1258/lest-we-remember.
  19. Maier-Katkin, D., Mears, D. P., & Bernard, T. J. (2009). Towards a Criminology of Crimes Against Humanity. Theoretical Criminology, 13(2), 227–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Magubane, Z. (2013). Saviours and Survivors: Western Passivity, African Resistance, and the Politics of Genocide in Hotel Rwanda (2004). In J. J. Michalczyk & R. G. Helmick (Eds.), Through a Lens Darkly: Films of Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, and Atrocities. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Manchel, F. (1995). A Reel Witness: Steven Spielberg’s Representation of the Holocaust in Schindler’s List. The Journal of Modern History, 67(1), 83–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mboti, N. (2010). To Show the World as It Is, or as It Is Not: The Gaze of Hollywood Films About Africa. African Identities, 8(4), 317–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mintz, A. (2001). Popular Culture and the Shaping of Holocaust Memory in America. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  24. Morrison, W. (2010). A Reflected Gaze of Humanity: Cultural Criminology and Images of Genocide. In K. J. Hayward & M. Presdee (Eds.), Framing Crime: Cultural Criminology and the Image. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Moss, B. A., & Afolabi, M. (2017). “Truth” in Films About the Rwandan Genocide. In J. C. Friedman & W. L. Hewitt (Eds.), The History of Genocide in Cinema: Atrocities on Screen. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  26. Picart, C. J. (Ed.). (2004). The Holocaust Film Sourcebook: Volume One—Fiction. Westport, CT: Prager.Google Scholar
  27. Picart, C. J., & Frank, D. A. (2004). Schindler’s List: History, Horror, and the Monstrous. In C. J. Picart (Ed.), The Holocaust Film Sourcebook: Volume One—Fiction. Prager: Westport, CT.Google Scholar
  28. Rafter, N. (2000). Shots in the Mirror: Crime Films and Society. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Rafter, N. (2006). Shots in the Mirror: Crime Films and Society (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Rafter, N. (2014). Film Review: Joshua Oppenheimer (Dir.), The Act of Killing, Denmark: Final Cut for Real ApS, 2012; 159 & 115 Min. Versions, Colour. Theoretical Criminology, 18(2), 257–260.Google Scholar
  31. Rafter, N. (2015). Film Review: The Look of Silence. Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal, 9(2), 135–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rafter, N. (2016). The Crime of All Crimes: Toward a Criminology of Genocide. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Rafter, N. (2017). Crime Films and Visual Criminology. In M. Brown & E. Carrabine (Eds.), Routledge International Handbook of Visual Criminology. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Rafter, N., & Brown, M. (2011). Criminology Goes to the Movies: Crime Theory and Popular Culture. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Rubin, S. L. (2013). Specificity in Genocide Portrayal on Film: Sometimes in April (2005). In J. J. Michalczyk & R. G. Helmick (Eds.), Through a Lens Darkly: Films of Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, and Atrocities. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Rwafa, U. (2010). Film Representations of the Rwanda Genocide. African Identities, 8(4), 389–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Torchin, L. (2005). Hotel Rwanda. Cineaste, 30(2), 46–48.Google Scholar
  38. Uraizee, J. (2010). Gazing at the Beast: Describing Mass Murder in Deepa Mehta’s Earth and Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda. Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 28(4), 10–27.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Bostock
    • 1
  1. 1.MacclesfieldUK

Personalised recommendations