This chapter reflects on the ways in which the reputation of the British film director Nicolas Roeg has developed from the 1970s through to the twenty-first century, and considers how this might tell us interesting things about the discursive and cultural frameworks that shape particular films (and the critical reception of them) historically within the contexts of British art cinema. Looking specifically at Performance (co-directed with Donald Cammell, 1970) and Don’t Look Now (1973), it argues that through an engagement with the ancillary discourses that have circulated around Roeg’s reputation and the reputation of the films he has worked on over the last fifty years we might develop a more nuanced understanding of how British art cinema can be seen as a set of complementary and competing, historically contingent discourses, informed by concepts of aesthetics and authorship, narratives of production, exhibition, reception, but also, significantly, reputation.
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.