Literature, Jewishness, and Period Drama in Radu Jude’s „Scarred Hearts”

Another article co-authored with Veronica Lazăr. It discusses Radu Jude’s 2016 film Scarred Hearts, adapted from Max Blecher’s autobiographical novel with the same title (1937), as well as other writings of his. It is structured in four parts. The first references André Bazin’s celebrated essay on Robert Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, bringing it to bear on a discussion of the unorthodox relation between Jude’s film and its literary sources. The second section of the article discusses Jude’s decision to foreground the protagonist’s—and the  novelist’s—Jewish identity. Set far from home, in France, in an isolated sanatorium for tuberculosis, Blecher’s novel was unconcerned with public events such as the rise of the anti-Semitic far right all over Europe; they didn’t intrude—not even as background noise. Transposing the story to a Romanian sanatorium, Jude decided to have the young Jewish protagonist go through his experiences with terminal sickness and literature, with love and friendship, against an implied background of rising anti-Semitism, of increasingly widespread support for the local Iron Guard, as well as for Hitler. In its third section, the article discusses Radu Jude’s approach to period drama, analyzing his mix of period detail and anachronism. The fourth section discusses Jude’s intermedial game-playing and general artistic playfulness. 

The paper is in English and open-access.