Archives of German Anthropology and Colonialism in Philip Scheffner’sThe Halfmoon Files

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Abstract

This article examines German filmmaker Philip Scheffner’s 2007 film The Halfmoon Files: A Ghost Story about the Halfmoon Camp, a German WWI colonial prisoner-of-war camp. Extensive anthropological research was carried out upon its prisoners, and the camp was also the subject of popular colonial representations. Scholars and others made sound recordings, photographs, films, and drawings and recorded details of prisoners, this documentation now located in German archives. The film considers intertwined histories of German anthropology and colonialism at the camp by means of such documents and is also drawn to traces and mediated presences of individuals held there, evoked especially through sound recordings. Moreover, it looks searchingly at contemporary landscapes for traces and repression of this colonial history. Overall, the film is characterised by a sense of incompleteness of the archive, a layering of visual and aural techniques of display and absence, and metaphors of haunting, producing a ‘ghost story’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-743
Number of pages17
JournalThird Text
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2019

Keywords

  • Philip Scheffner
  • Priyanka Basu
  • Sound Archives of the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin
  • The Halfmoon Files
  • archive
  • essay film
  • experimental documentary
  • history of anthropology
  • pong
  • the Halfmoon Camp

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