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FILM 1701 Lecture Notes - White Flight, Picaresque Novel, Sync Sound

Course Code
FILM 1701
Michael Zryd

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Week 18: Politics and Hollywood Cinema in the 1960s
USA 1960s
Social changes
Baby boom of late 1940s led to large youth generation in late 1960s
Rebellion vs values of 1950s conformity, corporate loyalty, nuclear family, automation
Rebellion took 2 forms
a) search for alternatives to 1950s values
b) cynical, nihilistic dismissal of values in favour of irony and disengagement
GI Bill and baby boom, who also attended college in large numbers, had yielded a highly
educated generation who were receptive to sophisticated and critical new cinema
Questioning of sexual, social, and political rules
Questioning of class divisions, and of why people were left out of “the affluent society” that
emerged from the apparent success of 1950s corporate culture: the underprivileged, blacks in
South and inner cities (created by “white flight” to suburbs in 1950s), rural poor
Questioning of trusted authority figures: police, military, government
Crises of 1960s in USA: America at war with itself
-Civil right protest from late 1950s through late 1960s; conflicts with Southern states police
-JFK Assassination, 1963
-Vietnam war (fed by military draft targeting young men)
-local police brutality, e.g., Chicago police vs protesters at 1968 Democratic National
-National Guard, who killed student protesters at Kent State, Ohio, in 1972
Importance of Mass Media in society
-power of media and trust in figures like Walter Cronkite; Bernstein and Woodward (1972) break
the Watergate story that led to resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974
-but also questioning of media objectivity: is media more ethical by being objective or
-critique that news (private media in USA) is becomeing sensationalist entertainment obsessed
with violence, sex, and celebrity
Medium Cool
Flawed film, symptomatic of flawed period of political protest and aesthetic experimentation
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