Mnemozid auf Shutter Island (2010)

Scorseses Traumatologie des 20. Jahrhunderts


  • Matthias Wittmann Universität Basel, Seminar für Medienwissenschaft



history of film, history of psychiatry, memory, traumatization, archaeology


“You gotta make a choice ... If you wanna uncover the truth ... you have to let her go!” – With these lines, spoken by a madman at Ash­ cliffe Hospital on Shutter Island who is expecting the night of enlightenment: the lobotomy in the lighthouse, Scorsese reveals a schizophrenic structure of his film and thus makes us an offer: it’s our choice whether we want to follow the narrative structure of the film – its plot twists, bifurcations and retroactive mechanics – and therefore consider Shutter Island (2010) as just another (and maybe failed) mind game movie, or to watch its pulp images and vivid Technicolor dreams as a complex phantasmagory, composed of highly campy screen memories that, at the same time, encrypt and recall traumatic incidents and mnemocidal tendencies of the 20th century. The proposed dia­ grammatic approach investigates Scorsese’s film as a field of forces and rela­ tions that let private and public spheres, individual and collective memory, US American and European traumata irradiate and irritate each other.



Wittmann, M. (2013). Mnemozid auf Shutter Island (2010): Scorseses Traumatologie des 20. Jahrhunderts. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften, 24(3), 79–102.



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