The development of Latin American cinema in the 1960s was underwritten by a number of key texts that outlined the aesthetic and political direction of individual film-makers and collectives. Solanas and Getino’s ‘Towards a Third Cinema’ (1969), Glauber Rocha’s ‘An Esthetic of Hunger’ (1965) and Julio García Espinosa’s ‘For an Imperfect Cinema’ (1969) were not merely theorisations; they were manifestos written by and for film-makers working towards revolutionary praxis. Although asserting the specificity of Latin American politics and aesthetics, the theoretical foundations of its New Wave influenced oppositional filmmaking way beyond its own regional boundaries. This chapter looks at how the theory behind New Latin American cinema inspired and propelled film-makers in Britain, especially those of the Black Audio Film Collective, which represented a merging of politics, popular culture and art that was, at once, oppositional and melodic. Fusing postcolonial discourse with pop music, avant-garde aesthetics and reimaginings of subalternity, it provides us with a useful example of transcontinental counter-cinema, and its major figures have continued to produce challenging work that, as a recent interview with founder member John Akomfrah stated, is still drawing inspiration from the philosophy of New Latin America film.
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.