By Deborah Barker
Employing thoughts in media reviews, southern cultural reports, and techniques to the worldwide South, this selection of essays examines points of the southern imaginary in American cinema and gives clean perception into the evolving box of southern movie studies.
In their creation, Deborah Barker and Kathryn McKee argue that the southern imaginary in movie isn't contained via the bounds of geography and style; it isn't an offshoot or subgenre of mainstream American movie yet is critical to the heritage and the advance of yankee cinema.
Ranging from the silent period to the current and contemplating Hollywood video clips, documentaries, and self sustaining motion pictures, the members comprise the most recent scholarship in quite a number disciplines. the amount is split into 3 sections: “Rereading the South” makes use of new serious views to think again vintage Hollywood movies; “Viewing the Civil Rights South” examines altering methods to viewing race and sophistication within the post–civil rights period; and “Crossing Borders” considers the impression of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and media experiences 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 conventional limitations of local identity till all of them yet disappear and in others limning a continual and infrequently self-conscious functionality of position that intensifies its power.
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Additional info for American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary
Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, ed. Brent Hayes Edwards (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), xxxvi. Introduction 21 13. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1903) appeared several months before The Great Train Robbery, although the latter is often incorrectly cited as the ﬁrst narrative ﬁlm. 14. Williams, Playing the Race Card, xiv. 15. Scott Romine, “Things Falling Apart: The Postcolonial Condition of Red Rock and The Leopard’s Spots,” in Smith and Cohn, Look Away, 176. 16. Traces of that iconic, ruined South emerged as recently as November 2008 when Barack Obama’s historic election as the nation’s ﬁrst African American president transformed from possibility to certainty.
These ﬁlms encourage sympathy for the Union as well as for the Confederacy by emphasizing the heroism of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the struggle and by depicting with melodramatic sentiment the human contact between individuals that transcends political and military allegiances. In doing so they are representative of the reunion tradition of Civil War memory that had been ﬂourishing in literature since at least the 1880s and would ﬂourish in American ﬁlm for decades to come. In his ﬁrst ﬁlm about the war, The Guerrilla (1908), Grifﬁth does not indulge in any sort of Lost Cause mythology, but he subtly nods to southern honor even in the absence of heroic Confederates.
Preceding race, the family remains Grifﬁth’s touchstone. ”28 This characterization of southern honor makes the point that, in Grifﬁth’s eyes, ﬁlms such as His Trust and His Trust Fulﬁlled are not consciously racist or antiblack; rather, they are pro-family. Simmon’s formulation, focused as it is on familial harmony rather than the obvious motives of racial stability and social control, is perhaps a bit too generous The Celluloid War before The Birth 39 to Grifﬁth, but it gets at a crucial insight.