Conservative commentators have long criticised the film industry’s alleged
negative representations or outright rejection of religion, accusing
Hollywood of promoting its own secular, liberal ideology regardless of the
wishes of a predominantly faith-orientated audience. Within academia the
study of religion and film is an emerging area of interest, one that remains
dominated by writers working in the fields of theology, biblical studies and
religious studies. Why is this? To what extent can secularisation theory be
used as a way of understanding the historical lack of involvement of film
studies scholars in the field? How might the controversy surrounding
Noah’s perceived ‘atheist’ adaptation be used as a way of
understanding broader tensions between religious and non-religious elements
in Hollywood and the academy? Through analysis of the controversy
surrounding the interpretation and adaptation of scripture in Noah,
this chapter reflects on the position of film studies scholarship in the
emerging and developing multidisciplinary field of religion and 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.