Films Dealing With The Vietnam War

1762 Words Oct 27th, 2015 8 Pages
Film, as an art form and furthermore, as a cultural product, is a proficient and effective producer of cultural memory in society. It is a primarily a visual medium, and it is this facet that predicates its innate ability to represent, alter and, therefore arguably subvert memory. Moreover, as Sturken states “…cinematic representations of the past have the capacity to entangle with personal and cultural memory.”1 In the case of films dealing with the Vietnam War, this capacity proves central to the creation of cultural memory regarding the event. The films’ diegesis, its represented reality, which is constituted of sound and images, engages in a process of interaction with established historical narratives and discourses, as well as personal and collective memories of a given society, to produce (if not entirely new then) subverted forms of perceived history. Furthermore, “…just as memory is thought of as an image, it is produced by and through images…”2 and the images of Vietnam propagated by cinema form a crucial locus of American cultural memory. A primarily visual core is not the only similarity between cinema and memory; there is also the shared need for a narrative structure. Sturken argues that “…memory is a narrative rather than a replica of an experience…”3 If this is the case then it presupposes a selective process governing creation of memory; a process in which information and events are carefully (if subconsciously) chosen and then forged in the fire of a…
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