Research Students 2016

Megan Heilig

Not Making Big Rocks Small: Story-telling as a Destabilizer of Historical Narratives in South Africa

The film essay I intend to produce will explore the life of my great-grandfather Bruno Heilig, and will focus primarily on 7 years which he spent in the Andalusia concentration camp, or internment camp. The camp was built to house German-South Africans suspected of being Nazi supporters during WW2. The story is told through the eyes of his son, who, in those 7 years, was never permitted to visit his father, intern 575. Therefore the story bares the marks of my grandfather’s fictions, preconceptions and historical amnesia. Desire and loss, risk and doubt, test the subjectivity of the receiver and the narrator. This indeterminacy in essay film-making, because of its relation to the interpretive power of public imagination, has become a form through which questioning and rethinking of the self in relation to the viewer has been used to subvert or revolutionize oppressive forms of image production. This film will complete a trilogy of short essay films that explore the history of gambling, horse racing, racial, sexual, and gendered relations in South Africa, titled The Road to Nowhere in Particular (2015) and The Horse Rider (2015).