Film-Philosophy Conference, Film-Philosophy Conference 2012

An art of the past, present and future: archive in Susana de Sousa Dias’s 48

Susana Viegas


48 (2009), directed by Susana de Sousa Dias is a documentary film that portrays, as still life, anthropomethric photos from the PIDE’s archive. Divided between what we can see, traces of a living past, and what we can only hear, the present voices, the film displays the incommensurable space between what is the visible and what is the expressible in this specific medium.

As an archive of present time, cinema however brings back to life the past epochs, not only through old pictures (from archive, for example) but a past that is described, suggested, imagined and fabulists through verbal expression. This particular film places some questions concerning memory, archive and displacement, temporal and spatial displacement. From an inhuman point of view, 48 remains in the present although its “memories” persist and resist in the same present, voices of an eternal past that can and should be revived. In reanimating the dead past we are reinterpreting the present.

In this presentation, my aim is to bring some possible questions that 48 and Still Life pose us. For example, which place has an “audiovisual archive” (in a deleuzian approach) in the dramatization of personal and collective memories? However, this particular question also demands a larger question concerning cinema as a problematic object or an act of resistance, as Deleuze remarks. Every work of art (and not only the cinematographic one) is an act of resistance. As André Malraux states, one work of art resists in the first place to death. So, archive will be the ideal medium for this kind of resistance.

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About the Presenter

Susana Viegas
Universidade Nova de Lisboa

I am a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at Universidade Nova de Lisboa with a Ph.D. fellowship from Foundation for Science and Technology (2007-2011). Co-Editor of Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image (CJPMI).