ABSTRACT

Due to the mass slaughter of civilians that took place during World War II, documentary film became an important tool for reflecting on the traumatic events of war. Dozens of filmmakers dedicated substantial parts of their careers to documenting conflict, violations of human rights, and recovering the experiences of victims. Owing to the intensity of these narratives, the documentary medium was charged with updating its production and distribution methods. This chapter analyzes documentary films from the Pacific Basin that investigate the consequences of genocide, crimes against humanity, and state terrorism. It draws on a rich theoretical tradition, commonly known as memory studies. The main objectives are: 1) to reexamine some of the traumatic events that marked the history of the Pacific Basin; 2) to identify and summarize several documentaries from the US, Chile, China, and Vietnam; 3) to analyze both the narrative and visual techniques used to rethink the consequences of these events for victims and historical memory; 4) to reflect on the importance of documentary film, and the visual arts, in the representation of the past; and 5) to consider the evolving and important cultural and political ties that these reflect across the Pacific Basin.