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.
perhaps that memory is never
straightforwardly authentic or inauthentic. Spielberg’s film was
mortgaged to a notion of authenticity that relied as much upon mediatedmemories – notably, the ranging registers of black and white
photography and the various scenes and images that evoked previous films
about the Holocaust – as it did upon the use of genuine Polish film
locations or the presence of living Holocaust survivors. While
William Trevor’s portrayals of the Irish in London during the Troubles
-Irish attitudes and an
inevitable re-acquaintance with the discourses of their country’s colonial
past. By dramatising these processes, Trevor’s stories enrich our understanding of the psychological and emotional impact of historical events
on both migrant and host communities. Furthermore, they demonstrate
how literary fiction, and the personal and collective narratives contained
therein, has a valuable role to play in mediatingmemories of the Troubles
in Britain. This, in turn, can inform the wider discussion of British–Irish
relations and contribute to post
that is, how the styles of the past provide a powerful means through
which a film can be branded and marketed to audiences. Often ignored in
this process is the deployment of film music, and hence this chapter
will focus in particular on the use of music as a significant means
through which memories of the past may be evoked in the present.
As many of the chapters in this book
See e.g. Long on the ‘archival subject’ of modernity (2007: 1–8).
15 See Raymond Williams (1973: 12).
16 Cf. Scherpe (2009: 297).
17 See Jaggi (2001: 1); Harris (2001: 380–1). ‘At a time when everything is classified and
marketed cynically, Sebald defies all genres’ (Bryan Cheyette, quoted in Jaggi 2001: 2).
18 See Brockmeier (2008: 347–8).
19 See also Hutchinson (2009b).
20 Originated by Hirsch (1997), ‘[p]ostmemory can be defined as the highly mediatedmemories of those who did not witness the traumatic event but who have inherited, by
way of a cultural
bathing in Trafalgar Square and carted them off to Cannon Street
Station, where they were fined $10. (Semple Jr, 1976 )
‘Heatwave’ has been represented as temporary insanity for the
national imaginary, it comes on fast and furious, and then is washed away by a deluge of
stereotypical rain: the mediatedmemory template frames the lack of water in the UK setting
as a rare but welcome aberration for urbanites and ignores the stories of rural communities.
The deadliness of drought (slow
these memories, as acts of vicarious witnessing, different
from other types of culturally mediatedmemory? Through tracing
and analysing how creative writers use historical research in their
work it is possible to explore in what ways, and on what terms, we
remember and re-imagine the world wars now, or to ‘record the
historically evolving relation of individuals and communities to
sites and the associated transmutations of memory and identity’, as
Anne Whitehead puts it.5 This book uses this procedural, archival
analysis to ask a number of questions. What factors
mechanic explain that their vision of the
machine was as a means of bringing strength to their community and a better life for the Vietnamese people. For most of those who view the film, it is
a moving story of resilience.
The artist’s impulse in these works, it can be suggested, was in part to
mediatememories of the American war for the Vietnamese people, but more
especially to present a different narrative for Americans. Le said, ‘People were
surprised to find that in all my work, there is no anger, no accusation.’ He suggested that it might be because of the
boundaries of belonging to a group. People are
from empire to exile
then tied into the collective by their endorsement of the representations
offered, even if these are not based on directly shared experiences.51
A concept rather than an object, memory has no agency in its own
right. It requires individuals to select, organise and articulate narratives;
memory is therefore always mediated. Memory is also performative,
brought into existence at particular moments in time by specific actors.52
Borrowing from anthropology, Jay Winter labels these agents of remembrance