Cinema Lucida: Johan van der Keuken and the Meaning of Loss

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Abstract

Ever sceptical about the positivistic claims of ethnographic and so-called realist documentary, Johan van der Keuken’s film-making is the work of a curious, spontaneous and disorientated observer of the essential strangeness of both the foreign and the familiar, new landscapes and cities, experiences, and people. While there are various explicitly political and socially orientated films and themes across his work, it is those films and moments when what is being conveyed is a sense of him being somewhere liminal, being ‘in-between’ situations, cultures, styles and interpretations, reticent, uncertain but incorrigibly curious that constitute his most valuable contribution to documentary film aesthetics. Not surprisingly, such characteristics often come to the fore in those films where he tries to make sense of loss, the passing of lives and the legacies left behind. This article discusses questions of history and personal loss in a number of his films.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbernull
JournalScreening the Past
Volume29
Issue numbernull
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

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