This paper explores the role of the historical image in Henri-François Imbert’s 2003 documentary No Pasarán, Album Souvenir. The paper argues that the film offers a fundamentally productive – in the sense of being useful in the contemporary moment – use of history. In other words, Imbert goes beyond making known that which is historically occluded from dominant accounts of history as he shows the importance of the historically occluded in (and for) the contemporary moment. By juxtaposing the plight of Spanish Civil War refugees in the 1930s and 1940s with that of contemporary refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan, No Pasarán represents a break with traditional aesthetics as well as stereotypical accounts of migration in popular culture. By focusing on the interplay of history and the metaphor of water, the paper argues that Imbert follows Walter Benjamin’s eschewing of history “as it really was” and instead reads both history and the present against the grain.
|Keywords:||History, Aesthetics, Politics|
PhD Candidate (ABD), Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada