Eleftheria Rania Kosmidou’s book European Civil War Films: Memory, Conflict and Nostalgia is a monograph on the study of the neglected subject of European civil war films that attempts to displace frameworks for the understanding of historical trauma and its role in cultural memory from a preoccupation with World War II and the Holocaust to the subject matter of Civil War.
The book examines the problematic of cinematic postmemory through a series of comparative case studies of late twentieth-century European films about the civil wars in Spain, Ireland, Former Yugoslavia, and Greece. Through a close study of Fernando Trueba’s Belle Époque (1992), José Luis Cuerda’s Butterfly’s Tongue (1999), Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom (1995) and The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins (1996), Emir Kusturica’s Underground (1995), Danis Tanović’s No Man’s Land (2001), and Theo Angelopoulos’s The Travelling Players (1975), Kosmidou explores how these films break with historical taboos of representation, what type of historical allegorizations they advance and what kind of cultural memory they create. According to the writer, the films make use of various stylistic and representational elements and succeed in making decisive contributions to cultural memory. Film narratives often take a romanticised and melodramatic approach to the Spanish Civil War, the Irish Civil War is pictured through personal and family relations, satire and comedy are prominent modes of representation in the films about the Former Yugoslavian Civil War, while Theo Angelopoulos’s Brechtian treatment of the Greek Civil War invites critical distance from the audience. ... More