An Elaborate Gesture of Pastness: Three Films by Dani Gal
Contributions from Sabeth Buchmann, Burcu Dogramaci, Noit Banai and Sa’ed Atshan are accompanied by visual and literary material and references from Gal’s extensive research practice.
The publication delves into Dani Gal’s trilogy produced between 2011 and 2018. Each film approaches the complexities of historical accounts between ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ in the context of German, Jewish and Arab histories from a different ‘blind spot’ in historical knowledge. Cinematic tools are applied to illuminate and stage these undocumented aspects of real historical events.
"Dani Gal’s films occupy a borderland where fiction and historical reconstruction mingle and where the past bears disturbing messages for the present. Focused on a series of events unfolding at the margins of our usual narratives of the Holocaust, Gal’s work challenges what we thought we knew about the genocide and its legacies. In the gray zones Gal reconstructs, we find unexpected exchanges between victims and perpetrators and between the histories of Europe and Israel/Palestine. This book offers a rich and powerful introduction to Dani Gal’s uncanny and unsettling vision."
— Michael Rothberg, author of "The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators" and "Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization"
Night and Fog (2011) is a re-enactment of the night of 31 May 1962, based on an interview Gal made with Michael Goldman-Gilad, a Holocaust survivor and Israeli police officer, who had undertaken the secret mission of scattering the ashes of Adolf Eichmann into the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea after he was captured in Argentina and brought to trial and executed in Israel.
As from Afar (2013) is a fictionalised account of a meeting between Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to bring Nazi criminals to justice, and Albert Speer, the chief architect of the Third Reich, using the letters they exchanged throughout the 1970s as a basis for the dialogue.
White City (2018) revolves around the complex character of Arthur Ruppin, a German Jew and one of the founders of the Zionist Settlement who promoted co-existence with the Palestinians before the establishment of the State of Israel; the film traces his visit to the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, and his 1933 meeting with Hans F. K. Günther, the leading German eugenicist of the time who became a major influence on National Socialist race theory.[publisher's note]