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A Thematic Analysis of Collective Trauma and Enemy Image Construction in the 1980s American Action Film
Lennart Soberon

During the 1980s the spectre of the Vietnam War haunted the sites of cinema and popular culture in various forms. Whereas a rich body of scholarly research exists on cinematic iterations of the Vietnam war as trauma, the discursive dynamics between memory, ideology and genre in relation to enemy image construction are somewhat underdeveloped. This article utilises genre studies, conflict studies and trauma theory in analysing how the representations of film villains interact with the construction of cultural trauma and national identity. Considering the American action thriller to be an important site for processes of commemoration and memorialisation, the discursive construction and formal articulation of national trauma are theorised within the genre. Additionally, a thematic and textual analysis was conducted of a sample of forty American action thriller films. The analysis illustrates how the genre operates through a structure of violent traumatisation and heroic vindication, offering a logic built on the necessity and legitimacy of revenge against a series of enemy-others.

Film Studies
From Vietnam to the war in the Persian Gulf
John Storey

Vietnam War as a noble cause betrayed – an American tragedy’. For example, in the 1980 presidential campaign Ronald Reagan declared, in an attempt to put an end to the Vietnam Syndrome, ‘It is time we recognized that ours was, in truth, a noble cause.’ 9 Moreover, Reagan insisted, ‘Let us tell those who fought in that war that we will never again ask young men to fight and possibly die in a war our

in Memory and popular film
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Deconstructing existentialism and the counterculture in The Gambler (1974) and Dog Soldiers/ Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978)
Colin Gardner

movie that Reisz originally had in mind’. 3 Many pundits also attributed the film’s box-office failure to negative political reaction against Vanessa Redgrave for her vocal antiwar stance (Middle America was still predominantly in favour of the Vietnam War in 1969). Despite her undeniably brilliant performance, which earned Redgrave a Best Actress Oscar nomination (she eventually lost to joint-winners, Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl and

in Karel Reisz
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Chris Beasley and Heather Brook

late 1990s), and ‘Conglomerate Hollywood’ (early 2000s to the present day). We see, alongside each of these periods, related shifts in the war film genre. Golden Age post-war patriotism declines, in the 1960s, with ‘New Hollywood’ challenges to patriotic obedience associated with the Vietnam War, and this mood continues until the early 1980s. These changes were followed by the growth of an ambivalent or disguised rehabilitation of patriotism in the latter part of the New Hollywood epoch associated with Reaganite responses 68 Security to the Cold War. Since the

in The cultural politics of contemporary Hollywood film
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Linnie Blake

deployed by American film makers to explore and revise ideas of national identity in the light of the traumatic events of the recent past. From the 1960s onwards, in response to the Vietnam War, the 126 From Vietnam to 9/11 generational, ethnic and regional conflict engendered by the imposition of Civil Rights in the South and the rise of the counterculture across the United States, a new kind of horror cinema, exclusively located in the backwoods of the American psyche had emerged as films such as John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw

in The wounds of nations
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Horror cinema and traumatic events
Linnie Blake

groups whose challenges are nonetheless marginalised or suppressed by their economic and political masters, horror cinema can be seen to fulfil an additional function. To explore this we turned to the dislocations wrought to American self image by the Vietnam War, the civil rights struggle, economic collapse and the neo-conservative ascendancy of 190 The wounds of nations the Reagan years. For in the face of a pronouncedly bifurcated national culture in which entirely antithetical conceptions of the individual, the state and the people fought it out over the

in The wounds of nations
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Alison Smith

, Madeleine Film, Sandrew Camera: Willy Kurant, William Lubtchansky Editing: Janine Verneau Continuity: Elizabeth Rappeneau Music: Pierre Barbaud, Henry Purcell Décor: Claude Pignot Principal actors: Michel Piccoli (Edgar), Catherine Deneuve (Mylène), Eva Dahlbeck (Michèle Quellec), Marie-France Mignal (Viviane Quellec) Loin du Vietnam 1967 A sequence was made for this collective film on French reaction to the Vietnam war, but was finally not used. Varda’s name remains in the

in Agnès Varda
Representations of war and rurality in British and American film
Rachel Woodward and Patricia Winter

, suspense builds, we hear his heart beating fast. This is a Vietnam war film, after all. But what’s there? Gradually, subliminally, we see the silhouette of a human figure, emerging by degrees from what we thought was an empty space between two trees, in dense jungle. It is an enemy soldier, his outline blurred by camouflage, his gun pointing directly at Taylor. Three more enemy figures emerge, seemingly

in Cinematic countrysides
George A. Romero’s horror of the 1970s
Linnie Blake

’s self-image by the previous decade. Released in 1973, the year in which the United States effectively lost the Vietnam War, The Crazies is very much a product of Nixon’s first term of office. Set in Evans City, a small town in West Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburg, the film explores the legacy of an administration that had steadily rolled back the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, cracked down hard on anti-war elements and other dissident groups and engaged in the wholesale wiretapping and file-keeping on hundreds of thousands of individuals and organisations

in The wounds of nations
Contemporary naval films
Jonathan Rayner

totalitarian aggression and subversion; and the New World Order and more recently the ‘War on Terror’ were established to defend civilised people the world over against the uncertainties and dangers of the post-Cold War era.1 The return of the war film to popular cinema over the past decade has been accompanied by the continued revision (and in some cases retrenchment) of the genre’s conventional and ideological facets. After several years of avoidance, the Vietnam War underwent repeated representation in American cinema during the late 1970s and 1980s. The ambiguous

in The naval war film