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Film NationHollywood Looks at U.S. History, Revised Edition$
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Robert Burgoyne

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816642915

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816642915.001.0001

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Modernism and the Narrative of Nation in JFK

Modernism and the Narrative of Nation in JFK

(p.88) 4 Modernism and the Narrative of Nation in JFK
Film Nation

Robert Burgoyne

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the film JFK in terms of the tension between the film’s formal innovations and its explicit aim to articulate a narrative of national cohesion. It argues that the film’s profusion of stylistic modes and idioms expresses the rupture of a once-unified national text. The film, thus, recuperates its radically discontinuous style by linking it to the absence of a unified national narrative, which it suggests as the foundation of community and the ground for all other narratives of human connection. JFK recalls the idea that modernist, antinarrative techniques, characterized by fragmentation, the explosion of the conventions of the traditional tale, and the dissociation or splitting of narrative functions, may be the most appropriate techniques for representing the historical reality of the contemporary period.

Keywords:   JFK, national cohesion, unified national narrative, antinarrative techniques, fragmentation, historical reality

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