This book charts and analyses the work of Oliver Stone – arguably one of the foremost political filmmakers in Hollywood during the last thirty years. Drawing on previously unseen production files from Oliver Stone’s personal archives and hours of interviews both with Stone and a range of present and former associates within the industry, the book employs a thematic structure to explore Stone’s life and work in terms of war, politics, money, love and corporations. This allows the authors both to provide a synthesis of earlier and later film work as well as locate that work within Stone’s developing critique of government. The book explores the development of aesthetic changes in Stone’s filmmaking and locates those changes within ongoing academic debates about the relationship between film and history as well as wider debates about Hollywood and the film industry. All of this is explored with detailed reference to the films themselves and related to a set of wider concerns that Stone has sought to grapple with -the American Century, exceptionalism and the American Dream, global empire, government surveillance and corporate accountability. The book concludes with a perspective on Stone’s ‘brand’ as not just an auteur and commercially viable independent filmmaker but as an activist arguing for a very distinct kind of American exceptionalism that seeks a positive role for the US globally whilst eschewing military adventurism.
As a technology able to picture and embody the temporality of the past, cinema has become central to the mediation of memory in modern cultural life. The memory of film scenes and movies screens, cinema and cinema-going, has become integral to the placement and location of film within the cultural imagination of this century and the last. This book is a sustained, interdisciplinary perspective on memory and film from early cinema to the present. The first section examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The second section examines the politics of memory in a series of chapters that take as their focus three pivotal sites of national conflict in postwar America. This includes the war in Vietnam, American race relations and the Civil Rights Movement, and the history of marginality in the geographic and cultural borderlands of the US. The book explores the articulation of Vietnam. The final section concentrates on the issue of mediation; it explores how technological and semiotic shifts in the cultural terrain have influenced the coding and experience of memory in contemporary cinema. It considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory. The book also examines the stakes of cultural remembering in the United States and the means by which memory has been figured through Hollywood cinema.
In his famous meditation upon cities teeming with life, Italo Calvino
wrote a couple of lines about the cultural recommendations and
limits that are communicated to citizens in the signs that crowd
together in street corners:
Other signals warn of what is forbidden in a given place (to enter
the alley with wagons, to urinate behind the kiosk, to fish with your
pole from the bridge) and what is allowed (watering zebras, playing
bowls, burning relatives’ corpses). (Calvino 1997:11)
Only a tiny proportion of the cultural, regulatory system to
piano by ear.’ 30 Music plays a significant role in the film’s
presentation of Albert’s life with Victoria, often providing a medium
for the Prince to communicate powerful feelings that words cannot
articulate. 31 When Victoria insists that Albert play music rather
than discuss politics with Peel, he gets revenge by drawing all the
ladies across the room to listen to him singing at the piano. Likewise
contemporary technological changes as manifested in
While its new technical and stylistic possibilities
suggested an early potential to contribute to political or aesthetic
innovation, cinema actually carried the burden of memory in modernity.
In fact, it shouldn’t surprise that one of the key transformations
cinema wrought involved the restructuring and revising of retrospection
Our political world is in constant motion. Our lives are continually shifting. Collective communicative structures which have held us together in
various forms of communal life are relentlessly being challenged by new
languages. Practices that have bound human beings together for thousands of years are transformed, gain new meaning and receive renewed
significance. This book is a study of one such practice, dance.
The book intervenes in critical conjunctures in political theory, bringing together new reflections on the moving body, spaces of
Dance and politics
create embodied worlds through sweat and tears, joy and pain; they bring
their life stories into embodied communication. Through moments of
sic-sensuous, in which these dancers challenge what is a politically and
aesthetically legible articulation, they release into new worlds that they at
times know not themselves. These worlds can bring new possibilities for
a life together of respect towards the equality of all human bodies.
Dance is a way to dissent from politics practised in words. It is a way to
reclaim spaces where those are not
as a space corresponds to the space it inhabits.
Moreover, dance has a continuous element within it even when it is rapturous and disturbing. Dance as a world inscribes upon the bodies of
its participants –audience members and spectators alike –and changes
their embodied spatiality after they leave the theatre.
Martin argues that taking dance seriously aids us in going beyond the
despair of an arrested present towards thinking about an enriched social
life. Further, ‘if one grants that along with dance, politics cannot have a
solitary form or a unitary object, if
The ethics and politics of memory in an age of mass culture
memories themselves become a challenge to the ‘total
possession’ of private property.
Perhaps more than in any other realm, the political potential of
prosthetic memory has been explored in science fiction film. In Paul
Verhoeven’s Total Recall , a film with a much more sanguine
attitude towards memory than Strange Days , Quade (Arnold
Schwarzeneggar), the protagonist, has a life-long dream of visiting
system in the mines.
in the dank, dark shafts, workers learned to send messages to each other by
slapping on their boots … faced by this repressive regime, workers adapted
traditional dances and rhythms to the only instruments available: their boots
and bodies. The songs that were sung to go with the frenetic movements dealt
with working-class life –drinking, love, family, low wages and mean bosses.
I utilise the conceptual framework offered here to analyse gumboot
dance as a political language. Gumboot dance arose from conditions in