Memory is not commonly imagined as a site of possibility for progressive politics. More often, memory, particularly in the form of nostalgia, is condemned for its solipsistic nature, for its tendency to draw people into the past instead of the present. This is the case, for example, in Kathryn Bigelow’s 1995 film Strange Days , in which the use of memory – usually another
of the events are retellings, representations or fictional reinventions, which make the plot fiendishly complex. Almodóvar has spoken about the difficulties he had with the script, which went through twenty drafts (Almodóvar, quoted in Strauss, 2006 : 214). This complexity is not gratuitous, however; it partakes of an aesthetic common to Spanish films and literature about the repression of historical memory and the Spanish Transition. La mala educación is a film about the Transition that takes this aesthetic to breaking point. It harnesses it to place LGBTQ
As a technology able to picture and embody the temporality of the past, cinema has become central to the mediation of memory in modern cultural life. The memory of film scenes and movies screens, cinema and cinema-going, has become integral to the placement and location of film within the cultural imagination of this century and the last. This book is a sustained, interdisciplinary perspective on memory and film from early cinema to the present. The first section 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 second section examines the politics of memory in a series of chapters that take as their focus three pivotal sites of national conflict in postwar America. This includes the war in Vietnam, American race relations and the Civil Rights Movement, and the history of marginality in the geographic and cultural borderlands of the US. The book explores the articulation of Vietnam. The final section concentrates on the issue of mediation; it explores how technological and semiotic shifts in the cultural terrain have influenced the coding and experience of memory in contemporary cinema. It 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. The book also examines the stakes of cultural remembering in the United States and the means by which memory has been figured through Hollywood cinema.
Coinciding with the excavations of the Spanish Civil War’s mass graves (that began in 2000) film and the mass media are playing a crucial role in the construction and dissemination of ‘spaces of memory’ of the war that intend to compensate for the willed amnesia that characterised both the Franco dictatorship and the post-Franco years. 1 Spanish women filmmakers are documenting this public
13 Time and memory And now, as I gradually found myself being pulled into the huge, slowly rotating crowd of dancers by the cotton tree, I recalled Mr Mann’s story of Columbus and Sir Francis Drake and the two Elizabeths who were actually one, the Africans who were both slave and warrior, and I realized that I had misunderstood him completely: I had thought he was making history up. It hadn’t occurred to me that he had been telling the truth. (Banks 1980: 126) In reggae music, one is able to observe memory at work. The words of the music transmit a memory of
of its treatment of memory and the uses of the past. Here we shall be concerned with the way in which the film treats the question of spectacle and performance, and its relation to direct experience. Jacquot is a film obsessed with spectacle. From the credit sequence we are introduced into a theatrical world, albeit one which is turned on its head. The film begins with the final curtain of a play
. I take it as axiomatic that fictionalised cinematic representations of the past are less concerned with historical accuracy than with appropriating aspects of the past to serve the needs of the present. Whether based on memories of lived experiences or on the research and imagination of cultural entrepreneurs, they act as potential ‘vectors of memory’ (Wood 1999 : 6), fashioning popular understandings of history and thereby contributing to a sense of collective identity
identity is to have recourse to memory, particularly the memory of origins. In independent Algeria, official memory has remained fixated on the war against the French. This makes it all the more important to look beyond the anti-colonial struggle and the FLN’s mythologising of the Algerian revolution as the founding moment of national identity. While history seems to begin in 1954 for the FLN, the pre-colonial epoch may be excavated for a
Part I Memory and history According to the philosopher Paul Ricœur, ‘narrative attains its full significance when it becomes a condition of temporal existence’ (1984: 52). In stating this, Ricœur foregrounds the importance of history and memory, the two narrative routes that assist and orient our navigation through time. Unlike certain other philosophers, such as Hegel, Ricœur did not, in fact, see
On the basis of a body of reggae songs from the 1970s and late 1990s, this book offers a sociological analysis of memory, hope and redemption in reggae music. From Dennis Brown to Sizzla, the way in which reggae music constructs a musical, religious and socio-political memory in rupture with dominant models is illustrated by the lyrics themselves. How is the past remembered in the present? How does remembering the past allow for imagining the future? How does collective memory participate in the historical grounding of collective identity? What is the relationship between tradition and revolution, between the recollection of the past and the imagination of the future, between passivity and action? Ultimately, this case study of ‘memory at work’ opens up on a theoretical problem: the conceptualisation of time and its relationship with memory.