Please note: full articles are available only in Hebrew.
Hilla Lavie and Asaf Tal
Kapo (1960), Italian Film Poster
In this article, Jacques Rivette (1928–2016), a French director and film critic, openly criticizes the film Kapo (Italy, 1960) and its director Gillo Pontecorvo. Pontecorvo’s film deals with the everyday life of female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp. In his article, Rivette focuses on a single shot depicting the suicide of one of the camp’s inmates. His criticism relates to the question of cinematic representations of Nazi camps and the inherent tension between ethics and aesthetics. Rivette described Pontecorvo’s choice to create an aesthetic, somewhat pleasing depiction of an inmate’s death as an act of abjection, that is, ethically questionable. This article provides an early discussion of the challenges of representations and the adaptation of an atrocious reality into a palatable or commercial cinematic product.
This is the first Hebrew version of Rivette’s article, originally published in the influential journal Cahiers du Cinéma in 1961, and it is accompanied by an academic introduction by Dr. Ariel Schweitzer titled “Jacques Rivette—The Ethic of the Traveling Shot.”