By Maureen Turim

The flashback is an important second in a movie narrative, one who captures the cinematic expression of reminiscence, and historical past. This author’s wide-ranging account of this unmarried gadget unearths it to be a massive means of making cinematic meaning.

Taking as her topic all of movie historical past, the writer strains out the heritage of the flashback, illuminating that heritage via structuralist narrative conception, psychoanalytic theories of subjectivity, and theories of ideology.

From the yankee silent movie period and the ecu and eastern avant-garde of the twenties, from movie noir and the mental melodrama of the 40s and fifties to Nineteen Eighties artwork and 3rd global cinema, the flashback has interrogated time and reminiscence, making it a nexus for ideology, representations of the psyche, and moving cultural attitudes.

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Additional info for Flashbacks in Film: Memory & History

Sample text

The fourth takesplace in the criminal's prison cell, where his subjectivedreamvision appears on a secondstageset built into the wall prop so that it looks like a vision hovering abovehim. Though a dream, it constitutesa return to the time before the robbery. Threescenes,one of the man in his work as a carpenterjoined by his wife and son, the secondwith his wife and son at a dinner table, and the third at a bar before he is arrested,appearin the shot. After this dreammemory disappears,officials enter to take the man to his executionwhich comprisesthe final three shotsof the film.

Cry of the Children is a crusading plea for an end to grueling child labor exploitation. "This archaic,poetic languagecontinues throughoutthe titles and the initial title sets the stagefor the didactic flashbackto come both in tone and content. The film opens on a plane of generality before attaining narrative specifics, providing imagesthat depict the factory life of poor workers almost as a reconstructeddocumentary. After this didactic opening, the film shifts from the generalview of the mill to the beginningof a day at the homeof a family of mill workers.

This version of Freud often manifestsa dark, fatalistic view of the humanpsyche when given expressionin fiction. In flashbackfilm, as we shall seein chapterfive, implicitly psychoanalyticcharacterportraitsaboundin Americanfilms of the forties and fifties. The pseudo-scientificprinciples of popular Freudianismcan serve this tendencyin genressuch as the form of melodramaknown as the women'sfilm and the film nair . Part of our concernwill be with examining how psychoanalysisis inscribed in theseflashbacknarrativesboth directly and implicitly.

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