The New American Cinema

The New American Cinema

Book Pages: 416 Illustrations: 46 b&w photographs Published: April 1998

American Studies, Cultural Studies, Media Studies > Film

This collection of essays provides the first comprehensive survey of Hollywood and independent films from the mid-sixties to the present. Deliberately eclectic and panoramic, The New American Cinema brings together thirteen leading film scholars who present a range of theoretical, critical, and historical perspectives on this rich and pivotal era in American cinema.
The essays are divided into three sections: "Movies and Money," "Cinema and Culture," and "Independents and Independence." The first section focuses on the economics of the industry and analyzes the connection between the film business and the finished product. Topics include a look at the economic conditions that made the seventies’ auteur renaissance possible, the distribution of studio and independent films, and the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions that have come to characterize the new Hollywood. The second part of The New American Cinema deals with the political and cultural significance of war and Vietnam films (Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July); "male rampage" films (Rambo, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard); women’s psychothrillers (The Silence of the Lambs); special effects pictures (2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars); and historical re-presentations (Oliver Stone’s JFK). The final section casts a keen eye on films produced and exhibited outside the commercial mainstream, examining the financial realities of "indie" films; the influence of independent filmmaker John Cassavetes on Coppola, Altman, and Scorsese; the stereotyping of African Americans in mainstream cinema; and the films of independent women filmmakers.


“[P]rovocative and informative. . . .” — Susan Purdie , Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

“The value and quality of the essays contained within [The New American Cinema] is incontestable.” — Martin Flanagan , Scope

"This collection is the first I know of to examine contemporary American cinema from so many viewpoints. . . . The authors provide us with new ways of understanding not just the theory and history of recent American film practices, but also the mix of government action, industrial policy, and audience desire that has played such a central role in producing the movies of the last generation." — Eric Smoodin, author of Disney Discourse: Producing the Magic Kingdom

"This definitive reader-anthology is distinguished by the reputation of its contributors and the intelligence and relevance of their essays."
  — Dana Polan, author of Power and Paranoia: History, Narrative, and the American Cinema, 1940-1950

"Until now, there has been neither a book nor a collection that addresses recent American film with equal breadth and depth." — D. N. Rodowick, author of Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jon Lewis is Professor of English at Oregon State University. He is the author of The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture and Whom God Wishes to Destroy: Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction / Jon Lewis 1

Movies and Money

Auteur Cinema and the "Film Generation" in 1970s Hollywood / David A. Cook 11

Auteurs and the New Hollywood / Timothy Corrigan 38

From Roadshowing to Saturation Release: Majors, Independents, and Marketing/Distribution Innovations / Justin Wyatt 64

Money Matters: Hollywood in the Corporate Era / Jon Lewis 87

Cinema and Culture

A Rose Is a Rose? Real Women and a Lost War / Tania Modleski 125

From Pillar to Postmodern: Race, Class, and Gender in the male Rampage Film / Fred Pfeil 146

Your Self Storage: Female Investigation and Male Performativity in the Woman's Psychothriller / Sabrina Barton 187

Conspiracy Theory and Political Murder in America: Oliver Stone's JFK and the Facts of the Matter / Christopher Sharrett 217

Zooming Out: The End of Offscreen Space / Scott Bukatman 248

Independents and Independence

John Cassavetes: Amateur Director / Ivone Margulies 275

Independent Features: Hopes and Dreams / Chuck Kleinhans 307

A Circus of Dreams and Lies: The Black Film Wave at Middle Age / Ed Guerrero 328

Culture as Fiction: The Ethnographic Impulse in the Films of Peggy Ahwesh, Su Friedrich, and Leslie Thornton / Catherine Russell 353

Selective Bibliography 379

Contributors 387

Index 389
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2115-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2087-6
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