Film NationHollywood Looks at U.S. History, Revised Edition

Film NationHollywood Looks at U.S. History, Revised Edition

Robert Burgoyne

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816642915

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Abstract

Events of the past decade have dramatically rewritten the American national narrative, bringing to light an alternate history of nation, marked since the country’s origins by competing geopolitical interests, by mobility and migration, and by contending ethnic and racial groups. This book analyzes films that give shape to the counternarrative that has emerged since 9/11—one that challenges the traditional myths of the American nation-state. The films examined here, the book argues, reveal the hidden underlayers of nation, from the first interaction between Europeans and Native Americans (The New World), to the clash of ethnic groups in nineteenth-century New York (Gangs of New York), to the haunting persistence of war in the national imagination (Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima) and the impact of the events of 9/11 on American identity (United 93 and World Trade Center). This book provides innovative readings of attempts by such directors as Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and Oliver Stone to visualize historical events that have acquired a mythical aura in order to open up the past to the contemporary moment.