This chapter highlights that film theory is faced with two related requirements, namely, to extend the range of theoretical perspectives and core concepts available to the discipline, and to connect with ideas from other fields. Realist film theory and cinema provide an overview of nineteenth-century Lukácsian and intuitionist realist film theory. The relationship between philosophical realism and film theory needs to be explored further, as the question of realism and the cinema impinges upon other disciplines, including history, the philosophy and psychology of perception, gender theory, linguistics, phenomenology, information science, ethnography, artificial intelligence theory and branches of cognitivist research. The chapter explains that realism can also furnish models of theory and evidence, which may be particularly useful in the field of the documentary film. All of these constitute possible ways forward for future studies of cinematic realism, studies that may eventually come to establish a new paradigm.
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.