The memory politics of becoming European: Estonian subaltern narrative in the film In The Crosswind (2014)
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This thesis aims to analyze Estonian historical art film In the Crosswind (2014) as a product of cultural memory, which represents the national trauma of Soviet deportations in 1941-1949. The film is analyzed in a broader social and political framework of the European collective memory divide over the history of the Second World War and its aftermath. The thesis argues that In the Crosswind can be considered as attempt of Estonia as one of Eastern European states to promote their subaltern narrative of Stalinist crimes and victimization and achieve recognition among “Old” Europeans, which is part of their ‘politics of becoming European’. This thesis uses a multidisciplinary approach, which is based on a theory of memory studies, trauma theory and cultural media studies and attempts to analyze, how the Estonian national trauma of deportations is represented and constructed in the film, so it would find acceptance and recognition among the foreign audience. This thesis analyzes the cinematic techniques and iconography, used in the film to narrate the story of deportations trauma. As the film is analyzed not only as a work of art, but in a broader socio-political context, the thesis employs method of visual Critical Discourse Analysis, combined with iconographic, narrative and intertextual analysis. In the Crosswind can be considered as a successfully constructed trauma representation, which attempts to challenge the dominant memory discourse of communist crimes in Europe and promote Estonian national narrative of deportation trauma. Through the means of prosthetic memory, the film has a potential to influence the foreign audience and contribute to the construction of transnational memory of Stalinist crimes. It would be an overstatement to say that this goal is achieved with one film, but it is definitely a case of contribution to the Eastern European memory politics of ‘becoming European’.