Political Messages in Feature Films
Edited By Michael Haas
The volume is divided into two parts: Part One focuses on defining political films while Part Two looks at how «politics» is defined within films. Contributors find several ways of defining «political films», but agree that while the messages in films may often seem progressive, they are usually quite conservative, with the aim of making as much money as possible for the people financing the films.
The book provides a history of political film and identifies several hundred films with specific political messages.
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- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 191 pp.
- About the author(s)/editor(s)
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Table of Contents
- Part I. Defining the “Political Film”
- 1 Films Contain Political Messages
- Films Impact Politics
- A Short History of Political Film
- Founding of the Political Film Society (PFS)
- Three Conundrums
- Where Can Political Messages Be Inserted into Films?
- 2 Art and Politics: The Political Film as a Pedagogical Tool
- The Political Lens of Film
- The Artist Confronts Society
- What Makes a Film “Political”?
- Art and Audience
- Seeing the Political
- The Artistic Sensibility
- Escaping Reality
- Democratic or Elitist Art?
- Film as a Political Document
- 3 Searching for the Political Film
- The Inclusives
- The Exclusives
- A Third Alternative: A Typology
- A Fourth Gambit: Political Messages
- My Contribution to Defining “Political Film”
- Case Study: Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
- Factors to Consider in Identifying the Political Film
- Part II. How Films Define the Political
- 4 The Real Oliver North Loses: The Reel Bob Roberts Wins
- Does Life Imitate Art?
- Constructing Reality
- Background of the Candidates
- Viewing the Films
- Conclusion: The Joke on the Audience
- 5 Escape from the Bowling Alley: Traditional Associations as the Antagonist in Popular Film
- The Social Capital Thesis
- The Discussion in the Movie Theory
- Looking Around
- Looking Back
- 6 The Politics of Disaster Films
- Disasters and Rumors of Disaster
- From Disasters to the Renewal of Disaster Films
- Documentary versus Fictional Disaster Films: An Overview
- Two Case Studies: The Invisible War and Contagion
- Concluding Thoughts
- 7 The Blending of a Kaleidoscopic Culture: Films on Asian Americans
- Inclusion and Community in Asian American Films
- Living in a Kaleidoscopic Culture
- 8 Films about Thailand and Vietnam
- Epilog. Using Political Films in the Classroom
- When Colleagues Complain
- Appendix. Films Nominated by the Political Film Society, 1986–2014
- Combined References
- Film and Subject Indexes
- About the Contributors
4 The Real Oliver North Loses: The Reel Bob Roberts Wins
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The Real Oliver North Loses: The Reel Bob Roberts Wins
John W. Williams
Does Life Imitate Art?
The present chapter is primarily about the elections involving three candidates for the United States Senate—Bill McKay, Bob Roberts, and Oliver North. The first two candidates are fictions of the Hollywood film industry, although they are convincing. The third candidate could have been fiction, an invention of a very creative screenwriter. They ran, respectively, in California in the early 1970s, in Pennsylvania in 1990, and in Virginia in 1994. This chapter is about the reality of their stories. The three stories are supplemented with a brief mention of a fourth candidate, Rick Santorum, who ran successfully for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania in 1994, was defeated for reelection in 2006, and ran for president in 2012.
The theoretical perspective known as “social constructionism” goes beyond the argument that media, in this instance film, informs us of reality. The perspective argues that the experience of consuming media, watching a film in a movie theater for example, is itself a process of constructing reality. Kenneth Boulding (1956:14) argued “for any individual organism or organization, there are no such things as ‘facts.’ There are only messages filtered through a changeable value system.” For Murray Edelman (1988:34), media help “construct a social reality to which people respond.” James Anderson and Timothy Meyers (1988:47) expanded this view...
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