Yours in Revolution: Retrofitting Carlos the Jackal


  • Samuel Thomas Durham University, UK



Terrorism, Carlos the Jackal, naming, faciality, Cold War, embodiment, Assayas


This paper explores the representation of ’Carlos the Jackal’, the one-time ’World’s Most Wanted Man’ and ’International Face of Terror’ – primarily in cin-ema but also encompassing other forms of popular culture and aspects of Cold War policy-making. At the centre of the analysis is Olivier Assayas’s Carlos (2010), a transnational, five and a half hour film (first screened as a TV mini-series) about the life and times of the infamous militant. Concentrating on the various ways in which Assayas expresses a critical preoccupation with names and faces through complex formal composition, the project examines the play of ab-straction and embodiment that emerges from the narrativisation of terrorist violence. Lastly, it seeks to engage with the hidden implications of Carlos in terms of the intertwined trajectories of formal experimentation and revolutionary politics.


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