The talking witness documentary: remembrance and the politics of truth
This article argues that the conventional talking witness documentary by relying on memory of experience as evidence employs an inherently conservative politics of truth. Using a recent Kurdish video 5 No.lu Cezaevi/Prison No. 5 (Cayan Demirel 2009) as a case study it considers the opportunities and limitations of the talking witness form as well as its appeals. The essay pays special attention to the documentary's use of mimetic' affective engagement to break into the moral and conceptual space of trauma and the harrowing experiences of men and women who were incarcerated in the notorious Diyarbakr prison in eastern Turkey in the aftermath of the 1980 Turkish coup d'etat thus endeavoring to at once fix and disseminate memories of a violent past that run counter to state-authored versions of that history.