This introductory chapter provides an overview of the study, which comprises five films that offer complex and sophisticated treatments of the linked themes of nationhood and history. One of the most visible manifestations of the changing narrative can be found in the resurgence of films that take the American past as their subject. The book then raises the issues of the interpretation of history by fiction in contemporary films; cinema’s ostensible distortion of historical reality; culture’s willingness to substitute glossy images for historical understanding and insight, and the powers that underlie the idealized construction of nationhood. It explores the reshaping of our collective imaginary relation to history, and to nation.
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