Art, authorship and activism

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.

A celebration

This book offers a startling re-evaluation of what has until now been seen as the most critically lacklustre period of the British film history. It includes fresh assessment of maverick directors; Pat Jackson, Robert Hamer and Joseph Losey, and even of a maverick critic Raymond Durgnat. The book features personal insights from those inidividually implicated in 1950s cinema; Corin Redgrave on Michael Redgrave, Isabel Quigly on film reviewing, and Bryony Dixon of the BFI on archiving and preservation. A classic image from 1950s British cinema would be Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea, the epitome of quiet English integrity. Raymond Durgnat's A Mirror for England: British Movies from Austerity to Affluence, which deals extensively with British films of the 1950s, was written in the mid-1960s and was published in 1970. In a 1947 article called 'Angles of Approach' Lindsay Anderson delivered a fierce attack on contemporary British film culture, outlining a model for a devoted politics of creation, well in line with what we would later understand as auteurism and art cinema aesthetics . The war films of the 1950s together constitute the assented-to record of the emotions and moral judgments called upon to set in order those disorderly events. The book also talks about the Festival of Britain, White Corridors, and four Hamer's post-Ealing films: The Spider and the Fly, The Long Memory, Father Brown and The Scapegoat. A number of factors have contributed to the relative neglect of the 1950s as a decade in British cinema history.

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get the fire burning in him. Midnight Express started the catharsis, and after this his career garnered praise, admiration and plenty of criticism for the visceral, uncompromising writing in Scarface (Brian De Palma, 1983) and Year of the Dragon (Michael Cimino, 1985). With the release of Platoon in 1986, his ambition to show something of the real terror and confusion of combat was finally realised in a film whose popular reception made Stone Hollywood’s hottest property. In important ways, Stone’s auteur brand was constantly evolving during this period. The new

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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Sequence and the rise of auteurism in 1950s Britain

socio-economic, they were at the time mostly discussed and dealt with in aesthetic terms, and we saw eventually the emergence of the European art cinema, a new kind of film, specifically aimed at the literate and professional middle classes. One of the most important European contributions to the film history of the 1950s was, thus, undoubtedly the sudden rise of the auteur, the film director

in British cinema of the 1950s

auteurists clustered around the journal Movie . In the early 1960s auteurism provided a battering ram to shatter the hallowed portals of the critical establishment and Durgnat was intent on attacking the British Film Institute and its house journal Sight and Sound . In a wide-ranging polemic against prevailing cultural attitudes he complained that: ‘The trouble with the S & S non-theory is that it is an

in British cinema of the 1950s
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, not even just an auteur. Rather, he has come to represent an adjective that says something about the era of Hollywood filmmaking that he has worked in, and even more about late twentieth and early twenty-​first-​century American history that he has repeatedly visualised and constructed on screen. All of it has been accompanied by a running commentary virtually unheard of with regard to other filmmakers. ‘[H]‌e has attracted greater controversy and more passionate criticism than any of his contemporaries. The plaudits and condemnations come in almost equal measure

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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single ‘video work’ all by itself . . . there are no video masterpieces, there can never be a video canon, even an auteur theory of video . . . The discussion, the indispensable preliminary selection and isolation, of a single ‘text’ then automatically transforms it back into a ‘work’, turns the anonymous videomaker back into a named artist or

in Memory and popular film
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, confirmed her status as le phénomène Angot and l’enfant terrible of the French literary scene. Reading and writing subjects If the events of  contributed enormously to the move towards a focusing on otherness and difference as the defining issues for social and personal understanding and development, they also catalysed the dramatic loss of authority that would lead both to Barthes’s seminal essay, ‘La mort de l’auteur’ (), which ends with the proclamation that ‘la naissance du lecteur doit se payer de la mort de l’Auteur’ (‘the birth of the reader must be at the

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
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office viability and away from the creatively free hand offered to auteurs in the 1970s. By 2010, as Stone discovered, even auteurs with final cut in their contracts needed to push back against executive encroachment on the directing process. More than that, Stone’s world view surmised that the financial meltdown and philosophy of money that he had identified as Mo ney America’s talismanic totem for so long through his career, had further social and cultural ramifications for the era in which America now found itself. For in his follow-​up movie of 2012, Savages

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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Film festivals and the revival of Classic Hollywood

these two films being the fact that the London festival has institutionally identified and framed them as auteur titles. In addition, an important component of the cinephiliac nostalgia for classic Hollywood demonstrated across the years at London is the frequent presentation of documentary films about old Hollywood. These contemporary movies often provide new knowledge and so present new ways of

in Memory and popular film