The aim of this essay is to link the Marxist concept of "class consciousness" to the analysis of the evolution of the character of Edith (Susan Strasberg) in Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1959 movie Kapò. Here, in fact, Pontecorvo and Solinas (the screenwriters) choose to put at the center of the film a direct reference of what Primo Levi called the "gray zone", that vast ambiguous and paradoxical area that extends between the persecutors and the victims of the Holocaust. In particular, we refer to the story of Edith, a Jewish girl deported to Auschwitz who, by the time she arrived, decided to take the opportunity of change her identity in a political prisoner, thus escaping to death. Just entered the camp, she becomes a Kapò, a victim that the inhumane conditions of the Lager forced to become a collaborator of the persecutors, and then a perpetrator. The Lager in Pontecorvo’s intentions is nothing more than a transposition of society in the Marxist sense, in which the Nazi executioners metaphorically represent the bourgeois classes, while the victims are the proletarian classes oppressed by history and reduced to a subordinate condition. Starting from this, the character of Edith puts on a real awareness of her social condition (class), and at the same time of her identity. And it is precisely from the intersection between class consciousness and religious identity that the paper will begin, with the aim of giving an account both of the Marxist interpretation of the society made by Pontecorvo through the representation of the Lager, and of the "gray" historical condition of its ambiguous protagonist - also through a conclusive analysis of the Italian political reception of the film.
|Translated title of the contribution||[Autom. eng. transl.] Class consciousness, Jewish identity and gray area. For a political rereading of "Kapò"|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||TRAUMA AND MEMORY|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
- holocaust cinema, italian cinema, holocaust memory