This chapter examines how the devil in both Martin Scorsese’s The Last
Temptation of Christ (1988) and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the
Christ (2004) is used as a political and rhetorical device, both
within the epics and as a reflection of the historical and cultural moment.
It will also analyse these entries in the culture wars for their place in
demonising Others, focusing on The Passion of the Christ as a
post-9/11 commentary, looking back for the beginnings of these controversies
and demonic constructions in The Last Temptation, forwarding these
ideas onto our current revision of the culture wars and creating a bridge
between the pre-modern and the modern biblical epic.
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.