home
reviews
essays
search

Reviews

The Illustrated Auschwitz

(Jackie Farkas, Australia, 1992)


 


The wave of postmodernism that swept the Australian art world in the early 1980s created a movement of Super 8 filmmakers called "Metaphysical TV". Their work was based on appropriation: collaging, re-editing, treating and restaging fragments from pop culture, mass media and film history. Its attitude was ironic, anti-serious, politically disengaged.

Jackie Farkas' short The Illustrated Auschwitz, coming almost a decade after this wave, seems at first like its recapitulation. On the soundtrack we hear the account of a Jewish woman's experience of the Nazi Holocaust. Seemingly disconnected images flash up, some recycled from the classic The Wizard of Oz (1939). Is this a clever deconstruction of conventional television documentary form and image-sound "illustration"?

As we reach its shattering conclusion, we realise that, for once, the postmodern game has become poetic and profound. It is one of the great films, which gives life to that academic abstraction known as "representations of the Holocaust".

This daring masterpiece is one of only two films directed by cinematographer Farkas, who trained at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

© Adrian Martin March 2003


Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search