The 1950s were ushered in with the official opening of the Maracanà football stadium in Rio, where the Brazilian squad was to lose the final of the World Cup to Uruguay in 1950. Following Getúlio Vargas's suicide while in office in August 1954, the election of President Juscelino Kubitschek restored Brazil's faith in its future. Migration from rural to urban areas peaked in the 1950s, particularly from Brazil's arid North East, which experienced severe droughts in 1951, 1953 and 1958. Perhaps the most important contribution of the chanchada of the 1950s was to render visible a social class within Brazil's socio-cultural landscape, and to champion the underdog, who succeeds in triumphing, through malandragem, over more powerful opponents, not least officials of the state, high society and even the representatives of foreign nations. The decline in the popularity of the chanchada went hand in hand with the expansion of television.
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.