Terry Gilliam was keen to develop two very different projects, The Ministry and Theseus and the Minotaur, a proposal that would resurface several times in his career. By late 1979 Gilliam had Denis O'Brien's verbal backing for Time Bandits. Fantasy in Time Bandits is not an escape from reality, but a means of tapping into the realms that rationality has neglected, or replaced with a world mediated by the commercial media, ideology and tradition. Time Bandits marks the first of several films that feature children as protagonists or as critical observers of the actions and failings of adults. Time Bandits seems to function simply as the cinematic version of a Bildungsroman, a novel of development. Gilliam had teamed up with producer Arnon Milchan in his efforts to realise Brazil, which had been on hold since 1979.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It 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 book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also 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.