US reluctance to intervene in Rwanda 1994 is seen as a consequence of America's recent experience in Somalia, but it may also indicate that the US had calculated that the best outcome would be a decisive Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) victory. There was certainly conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda in the past, including largescale massacres, but this was the product of post-colonial politics rather than of centuries-old tribal hatred. Analyses which emphasise Hutu cultural difference and deference to authority, and which take little account of the circumstances of civil war and international intervention which polarised Rwandan society, tend to see the refugees in a wholly negative light. In a 25 July 1994 commentary for the Guardian, Germaine Greer railed against coverage of the refugee exodus, describing the media as a collective 'parasite' and accusing them of 'stripping the Rwandan refugees of their last shred of dignity'.
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.