- UC Santa Cruz
- Visual Studies PhD
Sara Kurpiers Blaylock's paper, “The body under duress in Pilots in Pyjamas (East Germany, 1968, Walter Heynowski & Gerhard Scheumann) examines the five-hour black and white film documentary Pilots in Pajamas, produced by a film team as part of the East German national cinema (DEFA) in 1967 and aired on East German public television in 1968. For this film, Walter Heynowski and Gerhard Scheumann interviewed ten American pilots imprisoned in the Hoa Lo prison near Hanoi. The paper considers the borderlines between authentic and inauthentic document through the scope of unanticipated bodily responses in the pilots as they answer questions about their work in the US military. Though deliberately a political or propagandistic film,Pilots in Pajamas likewise reveals an anxiety among East German filmmakers and their audience to reconcile with notions of duty in the context of war. As such, Sara interprets this film as a document of the post-Nazi experience of East Germany as projected on the bodies of "the capitalist enemy".