This chapter explores two traditions of realist film theory and cinema, namely, ‘intuitionist realist tradition’ and the ‘nineteenth-century Lukácsian tradition’.It examines the rejection of the supposed distinction between a phenomenological and a realist Kracauer, arguing that phenomenology and realism can be discerned within both Kracauer's early and late writings, as part of a sustained critique of mainstream cinema as a force for both the reinforcement of abstraction and dominant ideology, and the liberation of the subject. Realist film theory and cinema attempt to reconnect some gaps, in particular, those that have emerged between categories such as ‘realism’, ‘anti-realism’ and ‘modernism’. The chapter focuses on the substantive assessment of the shared ideas that link the three main theorists within the classical intuitionist realist tradition and of the relationship between realist film theory and relevant aspects of contemporary film theory.
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.