Jacques Audiard's work reflects several of the dominant preoccupations of contemporary French cinema, such as an engagement with realism (the phenomenon of the 'new new wave') and the interrogation of the construction of (cultural) memory. This chapter discusses four Audiard's films which were some of the most engaging and enduring films of the late 1990s and early 2000s in France. His Regarde les hommes tomber, Un héros très discret and Sur mes lèvres, received critical recognition, yet he is often absent from canon-forming lists of contemporary French directors. This will change to reflect the critical and popular acclaim afforded to his most recent work to date, De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté. The chapter discusses the question of filiation as one which concerns the thematic focus of Audiard's films, narrative choices, generic adoptions and subversions. Yet his films may appear realist in style, subject matter and mise en scène yet.
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.