Dark tourism and media: changing perception of place by watching movie



Rok publikování 2021
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Popis Dark tourism, which can be understood as the act of travel to sites associated with death, suffering and the seemingly macabre, is getting more and more popular in recent years. There are many ways for dark tourists to find inspiration for visiting dark tourism places. Watching TV, where those places are shown, is definitely one of these ways, whether these are movies, TV series, documentaries or fiction. They are motivated to visit those places by consuming the aforementioned media and it can be connected not only to dark tourism and film tourism, but it can also lead to getting more information about the culture and heritage of the visited country. The reason behind this is, that dark tourist sites can be connected to events that were really crucial in shaping national (or local) identities, so that the tragic past can still affect people nowadays. Thus getting the tragic story known is helping to understand the culture of those people in its broader anthropological meaning. It also works vice versa as visiting dark tourism places can lead to watch TV material connected to that place. This connection between dark tourism and watching movies is the topic of this paper. The historic period of the Second World War, when the area of the Czech Republic was annexed by Nazi Germany and part of it was known as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was shown in two movies that I chose for the research in this paper. Both are based on a true story, were filmed in the last decade and are well-known to the Czech audience. The first one, Fall of the Innocent (or The Butcher of Prague) is telling the story of the village Lidice, that was razed to the ground after the assassination of the Deputy Protector Reinhard Heydrich. Nowadays there is the Lidice Memorial that was built as a tribute to the village and it is one of the most infamous dark tourism places in Czech Republic. The second movie is called Anthropoid and depicts the assassination of Reynhard Heydrich in Prague. This movie is mostly connected to the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, where the assassins were hiding, and nowadays the National Memorial of the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror is nearby. This paper is theoretically based on the circular process of media tourism. This theory depicts that movies (or books and other media) are inspired by true events that are based in some physical places (in this case Lidice village or Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius). By making a movie the author constructs an imaginary place that is consumed by the audience who can visit the real physical place where the movie took place or is somehow connected to it. In our cases, this process can serve as a gateway to the history of the Czech nation, but also from the viewpoint of tourists there is line between perception and imagination blurred. The goal of this paper is to make a connection between this circular process of media tourism and theories of dark tourism consumption in a theoretical perspective. It is mainly by showing the changing perception of the dark tourism place by seeing a movie. The method of research is an analysis of those two movies and a mainly qualitative analysis of reviews to those films on Czech-Slovak film database websites.

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