The Jew as Christian: Francesco Rosi’s The Truce (La Tregua, 1997

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Giacomo Lichtner, Victoria University of Wellington

1. Suggestion, symbol and the pursuit of accuracy: notes on historians using film. Questions and points of discussion: 2. The Christianisation of Primo Levi: how does Rosi construct Levi’s identity and why? 3. An Italian, a Jew, a Survivor, a Witness, an author, a chemist, a left-wing intellectual: who is Rosi’s Levi? Is it possible to render the layers of a person’s identity and at what cost to we peel off these layers? 4. The collective and the individual: on the historical and moral essence of the Shoah. Why does Levi stand out to meet the oncoming Soviet army? 5. If this is a man: representing dehumanisation and the reintroduction in the human congress. How do you explain the love story between Levi and Flora? 6. Justice, Revenge, Forgiveness. Why does Levi speak out on Flora’s behalf? Why does the German soldier kneel at Levi’s feet? 7. The memorialisation of memory: knowledge, hindsight, perspective and remembrance as a moral value. 8. What are the moral, historical and political implications of seeking to find hope in a story of destruction, of offering closure to and through the Shoah?

And then there is the poem…

The epigraph to If This is a Man, Primo Levi’s Shemá (1947), translated by Stuart Woolf.

Why does Rosi edit out the last few lines? How does the poem’s meaning change in light of the changes and what is the significance of his decision?

Further reading: - Works by Primo Levi: If This is a Man and The Truce The Drowned and the Saved Works about Levi:

Toby Haggith and Joanna Newman eds, The Holocaust and the Moving Image: Holocaust and the Moving Image- Representations in Film and Television Since 1933 Annette Insdorf, Indelible Shadows Aron Kerner, Film and the Holocaust: New Perspectives on Dramas, Documentaries, and Experimental Films Works specifically on the Holocaust in Italian Cinema

Robert S. Gordon, Primo Levi's Ordinary Virtues: From Testimony to Ethics Id., The Cambridge Companion to Primo Levi Ian Thompson, Primo Levi Works about Cinema and Judaism:

Millicent Marcus, Italian Cinema in the Shadow of Auschwitz Giacomo Lichtner, Film and the Shoah in France and Italy

Lawrence Baron, The Modern Jewish Experience in World Cinema Lawrence Baron, Projecting The Holocaust Into The Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema Omer Bartov, The "Jew" in Cinema: From The Golem to Don't Touch My Holocaust

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