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.
memorialised past is increasingly dependent upon, and recycled within,
audiovisual representations such as those found in popular film. My aim
is to consider how 1990s Hollywoodcinema has activated a selective,
revised sense of the past, and how memory approaches to film history are
able to analyse this. In particular, I will stress how popular cultural
memory is drawn upon as an aesthetic and commercial strategy of Hollywood
Film festivals and the revival of Classic Hollywood
The Thames Silent Classics series established a useful
baseline for examining the revival of classic Hollywoodcinema at the
London festival for two key reasons. First, such revivals immediately
created a sense of rarefied distinction by activating the displaced
meaning strategy around, on the one hand, aesthetics factors, and on the
other, ‘special’ modes of public presentation. In short,
identity formation. Examining specific ‘memory work’
within contemporary Hollywoodcinema, Part II explores the specificity of
film in constituting memory narratives that can function in coercive ways
but that can also, alternatively, hold the potential for progressive
The first two chapters concentrate on the former tendency.
Considering cinematic articulations of the Vietnam War in Hollywood film
Memories of cinema-going in the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood
Kuhn, ‘Cinema-going in Britain in
the 1930s: Report of a Questionnaire Survey’, Historical
Journal of Film, Radio and Television , 19: 4 (1999),
Jackie Stacey, Star Gazing, HollywoodCinema
and Female Spectator-ship (London: New York, Routledge,
’s posthistorical era. Hollywood quickly assimilated new
procedures and styles into its repertoire – including computer
imaging and animation, miniaturisation and digital developments in sound
recording and amplification. This incorporation of video and electronic
technologies into the core production processes and values of Hollywoodcinema drives such second-generation products of the blockbuster
Knighthood: The Visual Aspects of Bill
Clinton’s Camelot Legacy’ in Peter C. Rollins and John E. O’Connor
(eds) Hollywood’s White House: The American Presidency in Film and
History (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2003), p. 310.
36 Herman, ‘Bestowing Knighthood’, p. 311.
37 Terry Christensen and Peter J. Haas, Projecting Politics: Political
Messages in American Films (Armonk, NY and London: M. E. Sharpe,
2005), p. 151.
38 Richard Maltby, HollywoodCinema (Malden, MA and Oxford:
Blackwell, 2nd edn, 2003), p. 289.
39 Richard D. Heffner, Oral History
: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg
(New York: Beech Tree Books, 1987).
19 Don Kunz, ‘Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio’ in Don Kunz (ed), The Films
of Oliver Stone (Lanham, MD and London: Scarecrow Press, 1997),
C or po ration s
Th e ci nem a of Ol iver S to ne
20 Norman Kagan, The Cinema of Oliver Stone (Oxford: Roundhouse,
1995), p. 144.
21 Kunz, ‘Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio’, pp. 150–1.
22 Geoff King, New HollywoodCinema: An Introduction (London and
New York: I. B. Tauris, 2002), pp. 49–85.
23 Terry Christensen and Peter J. Haas
his manifesto-essay, Colin Young cites with approval the practice of the French New Wave feature film directors, who, having studied classic Hollywoodcinema in order to identify the conventions whereby it achieved its effects, then used those same conventions themselves but in a more low-key way, leaving much more to the imagination of the audience. ‘They were not so much unconventional as restrained’, Young comments. ‘They left us space to fill and we participated.’ In his view, this was the goal towards which Observational Cinema film-makers should also be
, rush by in the background, in a manner that is weirdly reminiscent of the back projections in the car scenes of Hollywoodcinema from the 1930s. On the soundtrack, the regular clattering sound as the car passes the pylons holding up the cables marks the passage of time within each journey in an intriguing metronomic fashion.
The six upward journeys, including the goats’ journey, are presented in the first half of the film, one after another, followed by the five downward journeys in the second half. There is no break in the film between the