Catherine Deneuve cinematic queerness has often emerged from on-screen evocations of a wide range of 'perverse', paradoxical or blank heterosexualities. In 1983 Deneuve's lesbian moments on film reach their peak of exposure with a vampire film The Hunger in which she plays Miriam, last in an ancient race of apparently immortal vampires, able to bestow the gift of several centuries of youth to her chosen partners. This chapter considers exactly why directors gravitate towards Deneuve when trying to evoke or represent forms of female homosexual activity on film. It also considers exactly what such directors actually make Deneuve do and mean once they have her performing these particular forms of lesbian relation. Belle de jour provides a useful point of entry into understanding lesbian sadomasochist cinema's potential for the demystification of the Deneuvian persona.
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.