American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary by Deborah Barker

By Deborah Barker

Employing options in media experiences, southern cultural reports, and ways to the worldwide South, this choice of essays examines features of the southern imaginary in American cinema and provides clean perception into the evolving box of southern movie studies.

In their advent, Deborah Barker and Kathryn McKee argue that the southern imaginary in movie isn't really contained through the bounds of geography and style; it's not an offshoot or subgenre of mainstream American movie yet is indispensable to the historical past and the improvement of yank cinema.

Ranging from the silent period to the current and contemplating Hollywood videos, documentaries, and self sufficient movies, the participants comprise the most recent scholarship in more than a few disciplines. the amount is split into 3 sections: “Rereading the South” makes use of new severe views to reconsider vintage Hollywood motion pictures; “Viewing the Civil Rights South” examines altering ways to viewing race and sophistication within the post–civil rights period; and “Crossing Borders” considers the impact of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and media reviews on fresh southern films.

The participants to American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary complicate the foundational time period “southern,” in a few areas stretching the normal barriers of local id until eventually all of them yet disappear and in others limning a chronic and infrequently self-conscious functionality of position that intensifies its power.

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Reflecting on the racial implications of His Trust and His Trust Fulfilled, film historian Scott Simmon returns to the familial hearth so aptly depicted by George’s slave cabin: “Griffith fostered a dream of Reconstruction that maintained the pre-‘alienated’ racial harmony under the sort of ‘honor’ usually reserved exclusively for relations among Southern white men. The adjective ‘childlike’ attached to ‘Negroes’ that is woven through various Dunning school histories places blackfolk, after all, in a family structure.

That these films’ major battles are often fought in what seems like the backyard of the principal characters’ homes exploits the dramatic potential of this situation even more. In Old Kentucky (1909), In the Border States (1910), and The Fugitive (1910) reveal the common concern of early Civil War films to negotiate the complex allegiances of the fratricidal conflict. The first film dramatizes the argument between a Unionist father and his headstrong son, who exits to fight for the Confederacy. Later, after his cowardice has driven him to desert the army and return home, the son’s mother hides him in her bed, after which he leaves.

Duke University, 2007), 5. Introduction 23 This page intentionally left blank ň PART ON E Rereading the Hollywood South This page intentionally left blank ň The Celluloid War before The Birth Race and History in Early American Film Robert Jackson The Anxiety of Teleology By the time D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation arrived on the big screen in 1915, cinematic representations of the Civil War had been around for nearly two decades, virtually the entire lifetime of the young medium. The early twentieth-century America into which the film was released was marked not just by the memory of that war but also by complex forces of progressive reform, Jim Crow segregation, the woman suffrage movement, the maturation of popular culture and its realist critiques, and perhaps most importantly at mid-decade, the fiftieth anniversary of Robert E.

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