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Restless bodies, buried texts: Sikorski, The General, and the archive

Restless bodies, buried texts: Sikorski, The General, and the archive

Mroz, Matilda (2010) Restless bodies, buried texts: Sikorski, The General, and the archive. Studies in Eastern European Cinema, 1 (2). pp. 153-165. ISSN 2040-350X (Print), 2040-3518 (Online) (doi:

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Anna Jadowska's film Genera: Zamach na Gibraltarze/The General: Assassination at Gibraltar (Jadowska 2009) emerged from a wider project undertaken by the Polish television station TVN and historian and journalist Dariusz Baliszewski, who has spent approximately fifteen years investigating the death of General Wadysaw Sikorski. The Polish Commander-in-Chief died in a plane crash in Gibraltar on 4 July 1943, in what Baliszewski believes was a British-Polish-Soviet conspiracy. Baliszewski has never been able to decisively prove his speculations, as many of the pertinent documents are buried in archives. As is clear from the documentary series Genera/The General (Jadowska and Kazen 2009), his investigation continually comes up against traces and copies, and a similar logic of simulation penetrates the very heart of his theory of Sikorski's death. What Baliszewski encounters on the level of historical investigation, the film and documentary series continue on the level of form, as the historical reconstructions copy the archival footage, digital manipulation copies photographic indexicality, and the split screens fracture a coherent perspective into multiple visions. Despite the commercial and postmodern associations of Jadowska's film, however, I argue that her aesthetics of fracture, lacuna and invention not only remain true to the incompleteness of our knowledge concerning Sikorski's death, but are also sensitive to the uncertainty and creativity of historical work in general. Her film's restless physical bodies and agitated cinematic framings also resonate in fascinating ways with the fate of Sikorski's body after his death, which underwent several burials and exhumations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: the archive, postmodernism, film aesthetics, historical films, Polish cinema, Dariusz Baliszewski, General Sikorski
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > DAW Central Europe
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Communications & Creative Arts
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:23

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