Stücke: Graphic Vignettes and the Haptic Response in László Nemes’s Saul fia
This article examines László Nemes’s film Saul fia (2015) and its visual and sonic use of brutalized human bodies to induce a haptic response in its audience. Presented out of focus and often at the periphery of the shot, the visual frame of human death causes viewers of the film to recoil into the centre of the frame—a space typically occupied by the film’s protagonist, Saul Auslӓnder. This article argues that these visually and sonically induced haptic triggers, and the claustrophobia that results, tether the audience to Auslӓnder to re-centre the viewer’s gaze as that of a companion rather than perpetrator. Drawing from extant literature on cinematic haptics and filmic representations of the Holocaust, this article engages with contemporary discourses on graphic Holocaust representations in contemporary feature-length films to examine the impact of graphic imagery and haptic cinematics on the perspective and ability of the viewer to subvert the perpetrator gaze.
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