For all the risks that the young Catherine Deneuve took with her star image, her roles from the early 1980s constructed a new kind of maturity and coherence that chimed with both her age and her screen longevity. François Truffaut's Occupation drama, Le Dernier Metro launches this period in Deneuve's career. The principal heritage roles taken by Deneuve in a twelve-year period were as Marion Steiner with Depardieu in Truffaut's occupation drama Le Dernier Métro, and as the colonial landowner Eliane Devries, the lead part in Régis Wargnier's ambitious saga of Asian decolonisation Indochine. The chapter shows that the reading of Deneuve as national heroine that these films promote is inseparable from the actress's extra-cinematic public image in France. Deneuve was identified as the new face of Marianne in 1985, and was a popular choice for both politicians and the public.
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.