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
6 The Politics of Disaster Films
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The Politics of Disaster Films
Since the beginning of the 21st century, disasters, both disparate and interrelated have brought about what Matthew Gross and Mel Gilles (2012) refer to as a cultural “turn toward the apocalyptic,” occasioning a distinct renewal of the disaster genre at the box office. Although rare, the two strands have even shared multiplexes. In sober and at times angry and angst-filled fashion, these documentaries carefully construct narratives to account for what hours and hours of repetitive television news cycles never can and ordinary feature films gloss—cogent explanations of horrifying events that seem as inexplicable and fickle as the tornado that wipes out one side of the street and leaves the other intact. In the present chapter, I identify how filmmakers have dealt with disasters, past and present, and examine the political dimension which their representations imply, especially as those films figure the bodies of individuals as suggestive of a relationship to political agency.
Although an under-studied genre of political films, disaster films frequently feature high levels of both political intent and content. Typologically, they border overtly political films in their shared invocation of government action and ideologically driven plot points. To sketch a context for the resurgence of disaster documentary and fictional films, I begin with a panorama of the disaster-filled twenty-first century.
Disasters and Rumors of Disaster
The beginning of the twenty-first century was marked by...
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