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.
and its structures of belief, Memory and popular film is crucially
concerned with the questions of (American) cultural identity that derive
from this relationship.
The book is organised in three main sections. The first
section examines the relationship between official and popularhistory and
the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and
consumption of American cinema. The four chapters in Part I
The ethics and politics of memory in an age of mass culture
most are, in fact, fascinated with the
past. 1 Yet despite the
multiple forms of ‘popularhistory-making’ their survey
uncovers, Rosenzweig, in particular, remains concerned that the way many
Americans remember the past has the effect of atomising them, rather
than building collective solidarities. Because many of the Americans
surveyed emphasise first-hand experience and the familial, they tend to