This chapter brings together inbetweenness, violence, gender and costume, starting from an examination of the development of certain key costumes worn by male characters in Luc Besson's feature films. It explores three points. First, Besson's sartorial system functions to establish simple Oedipal structures. Based on the suit where men are concerned, it is relatively stable, and ultimately conservative in its establishment of gender roles. Second, the diving suit is potentially a site of transformation, but it too is reclaimed for normative purposes. Last, the costume's potential for radical transformation is shifted to the cat-suited androgyne Ruby Rhod of Le Cinquieme element. Male attire in Besson functions as a discourse that critiques patriarchal power, where the suit functions above all, as it does more generally in Western culture, to signify masculine repression, the renunciation of narcissistic display at the service of violent patriarchal law.
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.