Cinema, Memory, Modernity: The Representation of Memory from the Art Film to Transnational Cinema, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Cinema, Memory, Modernity

The Representation of Memory from the Art Film to Transnational Cinema, 1st Edition

By Russell J.A. Kilbourn


288 pages

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Since its inception, cinema has evolved into not merely a ‘reflection’ but an indispensable index of human experience – especially our experience of time’s passage, of the present moment, and, most importantly perhaps, of the past, in both collective and individual terms. In this volume, Kilbourn provides a comparative theorization of the representation of memory in both mainstream Hollywood and international art cinema within an increasingly transnational context of production and reception. Focusing on European, North and South American, and Asian films, Kilbourn reads cinema as providing the viewer with not only the content and form of memory, but also with its own directions for use: the required codes and conventions for understanding and implementing this crucial prosthetic technology — an art of memory for the twentieth-century and beyond.


'Cinema, Memory Modernity: The Representation of Memory from the Art Film to Transnational Cinema is a detailed, insightful and, at times, brilliantly perceptive view of this difficult and expansive subject. Kilbourn's choices are certainly representative of memory in post-World War II cinema.[…] Kilbourn's analysis of memory in the cinema, an ongoing theoretical debate often full of incompatibilities and abstractions, is lucidly argued in relation to the ideas of the theorists with whom he either agrees or disagrees. This book provides an engaging read for those who are interested in this aspect of cinema, but will also appeal to scholars of modernity and philosophy at the same time.'

Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media

'Cinema, Memory, Modernity alternates between mourning the passing of the ‘modern’ moment of

art cinema and a feisty denunciation of a global post-modern malaise in which subjective meanings

have become disguised as collectively globalized through an ever-present visuality. While the

implications of this affective framework remain largely outside of the critical scope of the book,

the text’s lament and yearning take the shape of a plethora of original theoretical observations and

provocative analyses of specific films that make the book a very important addition to the study of

memory at the intersection of film and modernity.'

Adrián Pérez Melgosa, SUNY Stony Brook

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: Cinema, Memory, Modernity: The Return of Memory as Film 1: No Escape from Time: Memory and Redemption in the International Postwar Art Film 2: The ‘Crisis’ of Memory: ‘Traumatic Identity’ in the Contemporary Memory Film 3: ‘Global Memory’: Cinema as Lingua Franca and the Commodification of the Image 4: The Eye of History: Memory, Surveillance and Ethicality in the Contemporary Art Film 5: ‘Prosthetic Memory’ and Transnational Cinema: Globalized Identity and Narrative Recursivity in City of God Conclusion: Remembering to Forget: The Catachreses of Modernity Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Russell J.A. Kilbourn is Assistant Professor of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Film Studies

This series is our home for innovative research in the field of film studies. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into this important and evolving subject area.


To submit a proposal for this series, please contact:
Suzanne Richardson, Commissioning Editor for Media, Cultural and Communication Studies
[email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies