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
My first interest in films was the reward for walking down Warren Boulevard in Detroit, quarter in hand, to attend the cartoons, documentaries, B- films (mostly Westerns), and then the A films (I recall only The Fountainhead in 1949) at the Alger Theatre every Saturday, beginning at noon.
In 1950, my parents moved to Hollywood, and soon my interest was jolted by a direct association with some movie personalities and their children. Among those whom I met were Bob Hope, Art Linkletter, Ann Sheridan, and fellow classmate Ricky Nelson. My father, a radio station executive, often handled public relations with the film industry. From the students of celebrities at schools and in college, I learned of the Hollywood Ten, the film industry’s work ban (the blacklist) on those who had leftist ties, and subpoenas of moviemakers by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
My interest in film receded when I went off to college in the mid-1950s, where I majored in political science. A few films were featured on the Stanford campus on Sunday nights, and friends noticed afterward that I was still caught up in the drama. Due to the blacklist, few feature films had political or social content in the 1950s and early 1960s. When I accepted employment at the University of Hawai‛i, I discovered that films exhibited in Honolulu also were mostly devoid of political content. Few of my colleagues had any interest in films, whereas I was the first to...
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