This Feels Like Traumacore…

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This Feels Like Traumacore…

I was invited to my friend Diana and her partner Em’s apartment to watch Lucía Puenzo’s latest film, The Fish Child, which I was told might be the Argentinean version of Bound. Little did I know I was in for a night of pure traumacore.

What is traumacore, you ask? Well, it’s one of the few first thoughts I was able to purge from my mouth after wondering what the fuck I just spent the last hour and a half watching. This film portrayed every aspect of trauma one could think of. You name it, and it was in there. Rape, child abuse, incest, animal cruelty, abortion, domestic violence, sexual coercion, suicide, murder, false imprisonment, and prostitution. And we sat and watched every melodramatic and non-linear edited minute of it. It was such an awkward experience that I found it slightly absurd and even laughed during some really intense moments. Was I nervous? Was it funny? Or was I just confused by it all?

Traumacore, as I see it, is a genre of film that focuses several plot points around deeply disturbing experience and/or emotional wounds that the characters have experienced. Many of the films that fall into this category use highly stylized effects, de-saturated colors and tones and feature spurts of dialogue in sullen tones, which creates an almost claustrophobic feeling for the viewer. It’s almost as if every set, every scene is contained within a very tight space. There is no time to really digest the trauma that you’ve seen occur because you are immediately confronted with the next trauma, which causes you to detach the traumatic event from the character who it is happening to. This is the disturbing aspect because one trauma often lends itself to having long-term effects on the person who experienced it. So imagine the experience of witnessing several traumas occur to one character in one film.

After watching the film, we all sat around and debriefed. The first thing I could say was that the film felt like traumacore. Much to my surprise, the attendees of movie night thought I was on to something. I had just seen a few films that are considered a part of the mumblecore movement, which includes films that tend to have DIY production values and can be seen as the evolution of ‘talkie’ films, which were , in the history of films, the

Comments [2]

Grace Moon's picture

Call me old fashion but there

but there is an obsession with violence that gets fetishized in Cinema and other arts, at the point in which it exceeds the point of the narrative I tune out. I detest the grotesque in the fine arts and will walk by it without hesitation in galleries.

Astute commentary thanks.

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Conlite's picture

I guess I'm just not in to

I guess I'm just not in to movie S&M.  Thoughtful commentary though.