Films as memorials

It has been suggested that film installations or videos made of memorials can also act as memorials themselves, they are vectors of memory and and can therefore act as a celluloid memorial. 'Film can be a place of memory in so far as it engages the public in a collective recollection that revivifies or creates a meaningful link between a past event and the identity of the social group in the present’.[1]


A film brings the public together in their commemoration of events, and as an audience member an individual may then link their lives with the past, as the film may provoke an empathetic reaction, as such the audience is prompted to think ‘what would I have done’ or ‘how would I have reacted’.

[1] Guynn, W (2006). Writing History in Film. Abingdon: Rouledge. p 178.


Here are links to two films I was sent that I believe fulfill this criteria:


Resistance by Liz Crow

A powerful and moving experience, Resistance takes you on a journey through a little-known but significant moment in history.

We begin in September 1939 when Hitler authorised Aktion-T4, a programme of mass-murder that targeted disabled people and became the blueprint for the Final Solution to wipe out Jews, gay people, gypsies and other social groups. Incarcerated in institutions, it was close to impossible for disabled people to resist – yet some did…

We move to today, where rising hate crime, increased pre-natal screening and abortion and a race to assisted suicide challenge the worth of disabled people’s lives and even their right to exist. We look at how, even when we want to put things right, it can be hard to know where to begin.

Resistance immerses you in a landscape of drama and documentary film and audio-visual ‘whispering’ voices, inviting you to reflect on the values of the past and on to the present where you, the individual, can help shape things to come. And we say: If you could do just one thing…

With over 5000 visitors at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and a Best Exhibition Award from Liverpool Daily Post, Resistance is extending to a diverse public. Visitors make an emotional connection to some of the key social issues of today and they make repeat visits to find out how they can be a part of the solution.

This installation is currntly seeking a permament home.

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe - a film by Tony Mason
"The question as to whether that video is a memorial is interesting. I have never thought about any of my videos in that way, but films can definitely be a memorial as they can say so much more than a physical object and of course have much greater reach. I am lucky enough to travel a lot and I always try and make a short video of where I go. And I try to include a bit of history in them, where it is appropriate. With this video I was very aware that the Holocaust still effects the lives of those around today. People are still alive who lost parents, brothers and sisters. Within 10 and certainly 20 years this will no longer be the case but I wondered if I, living an enviable life utterly untouched by the horrors of war, was the right person to make the video. It will only ever be watched by a minuscule number of people but I wanted to get it 'right' and not upset anyone by portraying the events in a disrespectful way. As the Germans have only recently made this highly visible statement about the Holocaust i.e. the memorial I decided that that I would have a go."