In April 1975, Joseph Losey officially became a tax exile after relocating himself from Chelsea to Paris because of tax problems. In his The Assassination of Trotsky and Les Routes du Sud, the two political exiles, Leon Trotsky (walled up in his Mexico City compound) and Jean Larrea, Semprun's French-based Spanish loyalist, are reduced to mere shadows of their former selves and they led hermetic lives of purely textual production. Much of this dearth of topical relevance is rooted in Losey's own exile, in particular his lack of active political affiliation with the British left, as well as his estrangement from working-class culture as a whole. By 1976, Losey had settled into the non-activist niche of 'personalized politics'. He admitted that his youthful need for the ideological safety net of a rigid political organization had been replaced by a more fluid political contingency.
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.