- Purchase/rental options available:
Olivier Rolin’s Le Météorologue: Vicarious Witnessing and the Gulag This article is a study of Olivier Rolin’s Le météorologue (2014), a documentary work that advocates for a recalibrated understanding of twentieth-century totalitarian oppression. Rolin’s text traces his investigation into the arrest, detainment, execution, and legacy of Alexeï Vangengheim, Stalin’s chief meteorologist who was falsely accused of sabotage and espionage in 1934. This analysis aims to show that reading Le météorologue as vicarious testimony reveals intertextuality among narratives produced in response to totalitarian oppression. Such a reading recasts memory of the Gulag into a broader historical and narrative context, one that takes into account both Soviet and Nazi political repression and mass murder. This study draws on comparative analysis of Rolin’s work and noteworthy testimonial texts on the Second World War. It furthermore explores Le météorologue in the context of Rolin’s other recent texts on the former USSR. Finally, it situates Rolin’s project within contemporary debates on the memory and postmemory of twentieth-century atrocities.