After its defeat in the 1991 Gulf war, Iraq was subjected to international economic sanctions, which caused large-scale suffering. In 1998, according to former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the US used the inspections programme to gather intelligence and to provoke a conflict by demanding greater access than that agreed between Iraq and the UN. In 1999 the Independent had used the example of Iraq as an argument in favour of intervention in Kosovo. Military action was launched by a US-led coalition on 20 March 2003 as a 'pre-emptive' strike, justified mainly through allegations that Iraq possessed 'weapons of mass destruction' (WMD). A secondary justification presented intervention as part of the 'war on terrorism', in that it was claimed that Saddam Hussein's regime had connections with al-Qaeda. Media commentators sometimes combined an anti-war stance with an emphasis on the need for tough intervention.
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.