If 1968 marked a watershed in French cinema's engagement with politics and history 1974 did the same for representations of sexuality. In that year, pornography entered mainstream French cinema. The gradual relaxation of censorship in the late 1960s had seen a steady increase in the number of erotic films made in France, culminating in Jean Rollin's vampire series. The photography in L'Amant de la Chine du Nord is minutely realistic and yet stylised and fetishistic. This work also inaugurated a quartet of films culminating in the controversial Je vous salue Marie which explore the role of sexuality in cinema. In Sauve qui peut pornography and cinema are brought together again, via a narrative which concerns the inter-relations between Denise, her lover Paul and Isabelle, a prostitute. It is primarily through the stunning use of stop-motion photography that Godard investigates the desires and ordeals of these three characters.
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.