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Andrew Nette

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325666

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325666.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Introduction: ‘History Really is Gone’

Introduction: ‘History Really is Gone’

(p.7) Introduction: ‘History Really is Gone’
(p.3) Constellations

Andrew Nette

Liverpool University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of Rollerball, the 1975 dystopian science fiction film of Canadian-born director and producer Norman Jewison. Rollerball was based on a short story in Esquire magazine, ‘Roller Ball Murder’, by William Harrison. While the increasingly extreme nature of reality television remains a central framework within which to critically analyse Rollerball, the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States in November of 2016 opens up new ways of watching the film and heightens other ways in which it remains relevant. The most obvious of these is Rollerball's depiction of unchecked corporate power. Another aspect of Rollerball's narrative highlighted by the Trump presidency is the rise of so-called ‘fake news’. This book examines how the film simultaneously exhibits the cinematic aesthetics of mainstream, exploitation, and art-house cinema, in the process transcending its commercial prerogative of action entertainment to be a sophisticated and disturbing portrayal of a dystopian future.

Keywords:   Rollerball, dystopian science fiction, science-fiction film, Norman Jewison, William Harrison, reality television, corporate power, fake news, mainstream cinema, art-house cinema

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