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personal ambition, greed and a belief that there was somehow a shortcut to material wealth. In some of these narratives the pursuit of money is sufficient to induce individual moral implosion, while in others –​for example, Talk Radio and Natural Born Killers –​the mechanism is more complex, mediated by corporate money and ego. In Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Savages, Stone pursued the theme of monetary corruption by taking narrative swipes at two of the most lucrative forms of American late capitalism: connected, as it turned out, not just at the point of

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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The extraordinary couple

Conclusion 181 Conclusion: the extraordinary couple According to André Bazin, ‘comedy was in reality the most serious genre in Hollywood – in the sense that it reflected, through the comic mode, the deepest moral and social beliefs of American life’ (1982: 35). Hollywood romantic comedy’s articulation of the ideology of heterosexual love, marriage and desire is far from consistent, and certainly reflects many of the deep-seated anxieties of the culture(s) which produced it. However, where the realist Bazin implies that Hollywood comedy’s seriousness lies in

in Hollywood romantic comedy States of the union, 1934–65
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Fixing the past in English war films

spotted and disfigured also by the usual bloody cold of the English as well as their mildish racism, but they would nonetheless pass liberal muster in most historical reviews. Englishness had for a season an honourable moral content and a place to which it belonged. That place was home, a term as absent from the indexes of the official classics of political science as it is central to the political values each of us

in British cinema of the 1950s
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As distinct from those films discussed in the previous chapter, which directly ‘quote’ from Brief Encounter , there are many more that seem in various ways to echo the 1945 classic. One can’t of course know to what extent the filmmakers involved had Brief Encounter in mind, but the fact is that its essential scenario and its moral core still retain their emotional power, despite the shifts in cultural mores, irresistibly suggesting the long shadow it casts. Those titles to be considered here involve – to varying degrees – a

in The never-ending Brief Encounter

Joshua Dienstag’s “Letter to M. Cavell” makes two arguments. It urges us to reconsider the claim that film is the source of insight into moral complexity and a fertile ground for fostering democratic sensibilities. The essay also shows that film can indeed illuminate the human condition, but it does so when it exposes the tension between eros

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
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. What, then, is it about this black-and-white film of seventy years ago that has given it such a life? What are the kinds of values it enshrines and how have these been rendered in films and TV productions made in such different eras and for such different audiences? It is one thing to insist on the timelessness of its central moral view – that there is more to life than the satisfying of desire, whatever the changing mores – but this alone would not be sufficient to account for the film’s amazing afterlife. Being morally unimpeachable doesn’t necessarily ensure the

in The never-ending Brief Encounter

[T]‌he issues raised in these films concern the difficulty of overcoming a certain moral cynicism, a giving up on the aspiration to a life more coherent and admirable than seems affordable after the obligations and compromises of adulthood begin to obscure the

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
Joshua Foa Dienstag in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers

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.

Editor: Robert Fish

Staging an encounter between cinema and countryside is to invoke a rich and diverse spatial imagery. This book explores the reciprocal relationship between film and the rural: how film makes rural and rural makes film. Part I of the book explores the idea of the nationhood and relatedly, how cinematic countrysides frame the occupancy and experience of border zones. It covers representations of the Australian landscape and the spatial imagery behind the 'inculcation of political ideology' of North Korean films. European 'films of voyage' are a cinematic tradition that articulates representations of the countryside with questions of boundaries and cultural diversity. The 'pagan' landscape of British cinema and the American and British war films are also discussed. Part II focuses on the role that countrysides play in mediating national self-image through globalising systems of cinematic production. Films such as The Local Hero and The Lord of the Rings, the latter in the context of New Zealand as a shooting location, are discussed. The third part of the book focuses on two key markers of social identity and difference - 'childhood' and 'masculinity' - which serve to amplify how embodied identities come to inflect the idea of rural space. A family's relocation to the countryside from the city serves to emphasise that they are isolated from the moral structures that might contain their deviant behaviour. Part IV of the book deals with, inter alia, the Amber Film and Photography Collective, and amateur films on the former coalfields of Durham.

– the prostitute – within a narrative of conventional morality (Hershfield, 1996 : 77). Elsewhere I have argued that Salón México embodies the patriarchal conservative values of the institutionalized Revolution which map female virtue onto to a sense of nationhood (Tierney, 1997 ). Here I argue that Fernández’ revolutionary moral and ideological discourse of female sacrifice and patriarchal orthodoxy

in Emilio Fernández