Facing the perpetrator’s legacy: post-perpetrator generation documentary films

Bayer G, Moral J, Carnet F (2020)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2020


Book Volume: 34

Pages Range: 255-70

Journal Issue: 2

DOI: 10.1080/10304312.2020.1737436


The aim of this article is to address a transversal topic within perpetrator studies: how subsequent generations deal with the legacy of their perpetrator ancestors. To achieve it, we analyse six recent documentary films, all produced between 2015 and 2018 that cover four different contexts: Nazi Germany, the Spanish Civil War, and the Chilean and Argentine dictatorships. Through a comparative methodological approach, our focus is on finding similarities that define this global trend through the exploration of two closely related phenomena: (1) Personal responses and social responsibility and (2) Family dynamics. One important outcome of this new cinematic tendency, that we call the ‘post-perpetrator generation documentary film’, is that by accepting their relatives’ involvement, the perpetrator’s offspring are able to recover their personal identity, and also to reintegrate their personal experience into a broader historical context. Indeed, the social sphere is an important focus in post-perpetrator generation documentary films, because a major part of the perpetrator’s legacy involves social responsibility to the past, but especially to the future: concern for next generations is the ethical motivation of the post-perpetrator generation.

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Bayer, G., Moral, J., & Carnet, F. (2020). Facing the perpetrator’s legacy: post-perpetrator generation documentary films. Continuum-Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 34(2), 255-70. https://doi.org/10.1080/10304312.2020.1737436


Bayer, Gerd, Javier Moral, and Fernando Carnet. "Facing the perpetrator’s legacy: post-perpetrator generation documentary films." Continuum-Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 34.2 (2020): 255-70.

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