Working within the 1970s French avant-garde, Marguerite Duras set out to
dismantle the mechanisms of mainstream cinema, progressively undermining
conventional representation and narrative and replacing them with her own
innovative technique. However, the experimental impetus of her cinema was
not motivated solely by artistic or aesthetic considerations, but also had
important political implications. While all films by Duras can be described
as 'political' or 'oppositional', in the sense that they
subvert dominant modes of representation, Nathalie Granger, Le
Camion and Les Mains négatives differ from the rest of her work.
This is because they combine this formal challenge with overtly political
themes relating to feminism, communism and postcolonialism. The making of
Nathalie Granger in 1972 coincided with the period of intense
political activity and lively theoretical debates which marked the early
years of the post-1968 French feminist movement.
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.