The Last Great American Picture Show edited by Thomas Elsaesser, Alexander Horwath and Noel King

The-last-great-AmericanThe title of this book suggests a certain cultural pessimism. It talks about a Golden Age and a closed chapter of history: The Last Great American Picture Show. Generally, demarcations of this sort are hard to justify and are more of a hindrance to an open engagement with films. They tend to originate in the romantic notion that cultural history unfolds in discrete episodes (”narratives”), and they often reflect the formative influences of the author.

If you have come of age as a cinema-goer during the heyday of New Hollywood cinema – sometime between Bonnie and Clyde and Taxi Driver – you’ve probably experienced the main brands of post-1970s American cinema by necessity as less rich, less intelligent, less political, as retrograde.

 

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