Memory in Motion: Filming Bucharest’s Pasts/Presents

Film Screening and discussion organised by the Culture, Space and Memory and Screen and Film Studies Research Groups, Department of Communication and Media

In the Light of Memory (Alyssa Grossman, 2010, 39 mins)

School of the Arts Library

Monday 30 September 2019 5-7pm

As a visual anthropologist, I have been working with film in my research on everyday sites and practices of remembrance work in post-communist Bucharest, Romania. Engaging with the filmmaking process has also made me increasingly curious about the relationship between memory and the visual/multi-sensory medium of film itself. How can memory be invoked through the moving photographic image, when memory’s very existence implies an absence of the object of recollection? What experimental or alternative filmmaking techniques could be mobilised to capture internal, affective aspects of memory that cannot be directly manifested through traditional visual documentary means? In this presentation I will screen my film, In the Light of Memory, which aims to convey the frameworks and contents of individual and cultural memories in the contemporary Romanian post-communist context. I will also discuss my somewhat unorthodox usage of the ‘traveling shot’ in the film, as an attempt to communicate something of memory’s own textures and tones, experiences that are more visceral, fragmented, and multi-layered than the narratives often conveyed by conventional (textual and visual) ethnographies. Alyssa Grossman.

Film synopsis:
In the Light of Memory
(39 min.) explores everyday sites and practices of memory in Bucharest, twenty years after the fall of Romanian communism. Shot in Cișmigiu Gardens, one of the oldest public parks in Bucharest, the film interweaves individuals’ recollections of the past with present-day scenes from the park, creating a montage of images and voices, stillness and motion, landscapes and people.