Spanish cinema has often made use of the generic conventions of political thriller films not only to chronicle present events, but also to critically analyse the past. This chapter presents several points for understanding how the political thriller has played an important role in the collective processing, both social and political, which occurred after the traumatic years of the Franco dictatorship. In the mid-1970s, at the beginning of the transition period, Spanish political thrillers took a didactic turn, reinforcing structures of social control and political power through several different strategies. In the years following the transition period, the political thriller underwent new revisions. The beginning of the 1990s was a particularly significant time. From a film genre perspective, it is revealed as symptomatic of the processes in which there is a radical departure regarding both social implications of the political thriller and in the narrative and stylistic formulas they use.
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.