It is important to start by looking at the very first films that were made,
because that's where the story of film editing begins. In many ways it
is surprising, given that filmmakers were constructing films of actualities
from a variety of viewpoints from quite early on that
'constructed' films remained as one-shot entities for as long as
they did. Georges Méliès pioneered the development of trick films. In
France, he was also experimenting with multishot films. Méliès's first
was L'Affaire Dreyfus made in 1899. Like Attack on a China
Mission it was an imagined reconstruction of an actual event, but unlike
James Williamson's film it consisted of a series of twelve separate
one-shot films detailing separate events of the Dreyfus affair which, when
showed together, lasted an unprecedented fifteen minutes.
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.