Invisible metamorphoses

Régine Mihal Friedman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The representation on the screen of sexual violence against women has always and everywhere been an inveterate theme of filmic narration. In the Israeli New Wave of this last decade, however, some female directors have opted for a new approach that thwarts the too often prurient re-enactment of the aggression: they attempt to find an appropriate cinematic language that is private, trans-historical and transnational. While the rhetorical figures they conjure are present in all types of experimental and postmodern films, trauma films such as these endeavour to retrieve, salvage and mimic states of mind and mental processes in order to provide a kind of mourning-work leading to the wished-for working-through. The two films discussed here, Netalie Braun’s Metamorphosis (2006) and Michal Aviad’s Invisible (2011), give pride of place to the victims’ narrated testimonies, where these elements are reorganized and reconsidered, but nevertheless leave the impression of ongoing grieving and of death in life. By resorting to the founding myths of western culture, both auteures maintain that their ultimate purpose is to reassign the women’s devastating experiences from the realm of the personal and accidental to the social and political; to forge a link between them and a long tradition of injury and offense in order to establish an emotional and intellectual indictment against the ways of our civilization. Ultimately, in the absence of confession and acknowledgment of the offense, the rise of the ‘persecuted perpetrator’ has not found its way towards the rehabilitation of his still injured victim.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-290
Number of pages18
JournalStudies in Documentary Film
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Mourning-work in progress
  • Myth
  • Persecuted perpetrator
  • Rape and incest
  • Testimony
  • Trauma films


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