The problem in America is that we don’t apologise, and we don’t
learn. The protests against the Iraq War worldwide were enormous.
I don’t think Americans got a sense of the protest or the damage
in Iraq at all. The protests were not that big a story in the USA. The
American press report on every story from an American viewpoint.
It is what comes naturally to them. It’s not done out of malice; they
don’t know any better.1
In his introduction to an episode of the PBS programme Open
Mind, recorded in January 1992, host Richard Heffner
rate at which a director might turn out B-movies. There
are, however, great films, just as there are great operas. How
did/does opera function? What is it about music and voice?
Mr. Cavell’s last claim – one we have
known since Plato – is that the interplay between the
“personal” and the “political” is such
that they cast light on each other and show what possibilities for
When British politicians complain
that television dramatists have failed to produce a native equivalent of
The West Wing – that is, a series about politics that presents
its practitioners as noble and effective – they forget one vital
President Jed Bartlet, the central protagonist in the NBC series, which
in the United States ran from 1999 to 2006, is a head
Contemporary ‘British’ cinema and the nation’s monarchs
imagine the monarchy, and in so doing forge a particular sense of
British national identity.
Heritage is not politically neutral – heritage artefacts,
events and representations always carry with them particular ideas about
how we might view the past, and how the past might be used in the
present. One of the most vital features of Britain’s royal heritage is
the sense of longevity and tradition; to mobilise
This book charts and analyses the work of Oliver Stone – arguably one of the foremost political filmmakers in Hollywood during the last thirty years. Drawing on previously unseen production files from Oliver Stone’s personal archives and hours of interviews both with Stone and a range of present and former associates within the industry, the book employs a thematic structure to explore Stone’s life and work in terms of war, politics, money, love and corporations. This allows the authors both to provide a synthesis of earlier and later film work as well as locate that work within Stone’s developing critique of government. The book explores the development of aesthetic changes in Stone’s filmmaking and locates those changes within ongoing academic debates about the relationship between film and history as well as wider debates about Hollywood and the film industry. All of this is explored with detailed reference to the films themselves and related to a set of wider concerns that Stone has sought to grapple with -the American Century, exceptionalism and the American Dream, global empire, government surveillance and corporate accountability. The book concludes with a perspective on Stone’s ‘brand’ as not just an auteur and commercially viable independent filmmaker but as an activist arguing for a very distinct kind of American exceptionalism that seeks a positive role for the US globally whilst eschewing military adventurism.
This book engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life. In much of Cavell's writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms "remarriage comedies" live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. Films are often viewed on television, and television shows can have "filmlike" qualities. The book addresses the nature of viewing cinematic film as a mode of experience, arguing against Cavell that it is akin to dreaming rather than lived consciousness and, crucially, cannot be shared. It mirrors the celebrated dialogue between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean D'Alembert on theatre. The book articulates the implications of philosophical pessimism for addressing contemporary culture in its relationship to political life. It clarifies how The Americans resembles the remarriage films and can illuminate the issues they raise. The tragedy of remarriage, would be a better instructor of a democratic community, if such a community were prepared to listen. The book suggests that dreaming, both with and without films, is not merely a pleasurable distraction but a valuable pastime for democratic citizens. Finally, it concludes with a robust response from Dienstag to his critics.
Philadelphia Story .
In this response, I will make a qualified case for the
opposite view and suggest that films and even television shows can
be texts that encourage reflexivity about moral paradox, political
obligation and community. I will do this through a reading of a more
recent work in the genre of “the tragedy of
remarriage”: the television show The Americans . The
establishment of a theater. It was generally suspected that this
part of the article was either written or suggested by Voltaire, who
was living in exile there at the time and complaining bitterly to
his friends about the lack of a theater.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, born in Geneva, had contributed
many entries to the Encyclopédie on music and
political economy and was well known as a
In the second section, I turn from The Philadelphia
Story to its dark twin The Rules of the Game ( La
Règle du jeu ), a film made at roughly the same time
with roughly the same plot but with a much more pessimistic account
of the relationship between eros and politics. In this film, instead
of the miraculous resolution of eros and law, we see the vicious
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.