This chapter considers the main developments in Marcel Carne's career, from his early work as a journalist, amateur filmmaker, and assistant director, to his production of his first feature films, Jenny and Drôle de drame, and his contributions to poetic realism at the end of the decade, Le Quai des brumes, Hôtel du Nord, and Le Jour se lève. It is concerned with charting the main developments that led towards the production of these films, and with explaining what was specific to Carne's own particular inflection of poetic realist cinema. Even before producing his first feature film, he had made progress in this direction, making, along with Jean Aurenche and Paul Grimault, a number of early advertisement designed to be shown before films, as well as, more significantly, a short silent film entitled Nogent, Eldorado du dimanche.
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.