Beatrix Chung-Yiu Chan Humanities and Social Science
Post-Holocaust Comedy: The Function and Use of Humor in Peter Greenaway's The Falls and Gold
While the application of humor to the Holocaust may seem difficult and even offensive, humor during the Holocaust was employed as a means of critique and rebellion, aiding in developing solidarity amongst prisoners and as a mechanism for coping with trauma. Though such rationales exist for the use of comedy during the Holocaust, there is no such theorization for post-Holocaust comedy written in response to the event. In looking at the British filmmaker Peter Greenaways post-witness portrayals of the Holocaust, specifically, his 1980 film The Falls and his latest novel from 2002, Gold, I will ascertain how by presenting the Holocaust through comedic fiction focusing on absurdity, Greenaway develops a new and necessary function for humor in contemporary portrayals of the Holocaust.