More than any of the films of the cinéma du look, La Lune dans le
caniveau exemplifies the characteristics Bassan enumerates: a mise en
scène which privileges exuberance, light, movement, especially the
curves and curls of the camera, and an emphasis on sensation. This chapter
explores the language and the way it generates a particular type of
nostalgia unanchored in the real, unlike, say, heritage cinema. It locates
the film's visual style and its narrative concerns in a genre which
reviewers have on the whole not mentioned in relation to La Lune dans le
caniveau. The chapter explains why the main interest of the film beyond
its re-articulation of melodrama is the way in which Depardieu-as-star is
reconfigured in the film, his iconicity questioned: he is de-iconised and
re-iconised by the film in a gesture towards an impossible authenticity.
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.