Sophie’s Voice? Dark Intertexts of The BFG

Marrison, Kate and Morris, Nigel (2020) Sophie’s Voice? Dark Intertexts of The BFG. Jewish Film and New Media . ISSN 2169-0324

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

This article locates Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG in a growing corpus of children’s Holocaust films. Omissions and additions, that reflect the filmmaker’s practice generally, render Dahl’s nonsensical whimsy deeply challenging. Drawing on psychoanalysis, this interpretation exposes dark intertexts that point to the Holocaust as a cultural trauma that continues to haunt creative works. As the director of Schindler’s List and creator of the USC Shoah Foundation, Spielberg has already proven his knowledge of and growing interest in the historiography of the Holocaust. However, while auteurist assumptions underpin the argument, it also looks beyond Spielberg’s filmography to demonstrate how The BFG draws on memory, folklore, literature and a history of filmmaking and interpretation. These entanglements, intertexts, and associations are neither necessarily all conscious choices nor recognised by the audience. Instead, they rest within the narrative, creating a tone which challenges that of the family adventure film. This reading of The BFG, rewritten with an interpretive master code that concerns modernity’s ‘gravest moment,’ perhaps helps explain the film’s otherwise surprisingly poor box office receipts.

Keywords:Holocaust Film, Shoah, Spielberg, Film Criticism, Jewish Studies, Popular Culture
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V623 Judaism
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V146 Modern History 1920-1949
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T700 American studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V222 German History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V220 European History
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
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ID Code:34310
Deposited On:14 Jan 2019 13:07

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