This paper explores the forensic testimony employed in James Benning‟s experimental narrative film Landscape Suicide (1986, 16mm, 95min USA). As a belated example of Judith Walker‟s „Trauma Cinema‟, this film in part re-enacts the court transcripts of two perpetrators of physical violence: Ed Gein and Michelle Protti. Teenager Protti killed another student with a kitchen knife after having been subjected to bullying by a group of girls and Wisconsin farmer Gein shot a storekeeper‟s wife, took the body home to then skin and dissect it. Gein‟s case is said to have provided the model for the cinematic serial killers portrayed in Psycho (1959), The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). In its strategy of communicating or representing the overwhelming and traumatic impact of violence cinematically Landscape Suicide is contrasted to the melodrama and shock of mainstream violence in Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs for its ability to identify „unspeakable‟ aspects of overwhelming experience. This paper will concentrate on the representation of Ed Gein‟s violent acts, rather than Protti‟s and enlists recent neurological research that suggests a model for forgetting that is identifiable in the film‟s structure and content.
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