The Gold Coast (2015) and Economies of Colonial Guilt

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning

The paper discusses the feature film The Gold Coast (Guldkysten; Daniel Dencik, 2015) as a recent example for how colonial guilt is staged, and managed, in Danish visual culture. Questions of guilt, apologies and reparations are a central theme in this year’s commemoration of the transfer of the Danish Virgin Islands to the United States in 1917. These questions form an obvious context for a reading of the film, while the focus on the West African counterpart of the transatlantic enslavement system can add another dimension to the Caribbean-centered discussion. Guldkysten is the first feature film to depict Danish colonial rule and slavery on the Gold Coast, today’s Ghana. The central plot revolves around issues of guilt and atonement: it follows the main character’s development from innocent complice of the colonial system to militant critic of slavery and ultimately his death as a result of the punishment by his peers who strive to uphold the colonial economic order. Drawing on film historian Thomas Elsaessers’s concept of guilt management and Matthew W. Hughey’s framing of the white savior motif, and commenting on the film’s aesthetics, narrative style, use of historical sources, and production process, I will trace the film’s ultimate ambivalence between acknowledgement and assuagement of colonial guilt.
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Eksternt udgivetJa

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