The little space between Hal Ashby and Richard Linklater

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Examining the little space in between the films of Ashby and Linklater, this chapter also attempts to close the little space between the 1970s and the 1990s and between the perception-image and the action-image by seeking trace elements of the political commitment born out of defeat in the 1970s that would be sidelined in the 1980s and deferred to a different ideation by Linklater in the 1990s and 2000s. This is not intended as a postmodern consideration of a modernist impulse and neither does it presuppose a loss of value due to the prolongation of that 1970s defeat in the films of Linklater, but it does suggest that whereas the cinema of Ashby essays ‘moral ambivalence and political rage’ (Hughes 2004) and traffics in disillusionment, that of Linklater tends to emphasise the potential for change in dialogue rather than pressing for any substantive change in action. That said, the nature of change in the little space between Ashby and Linklater is not predicated upon further distancing from centres of authority such as the government, mainstream media, and Hollywood. Instead, the change is a minor modification, an inflection visible in the directionality provoked by their respective affection-images or, moreover, by their deferral and difference. By these means, while the films of Linklater sustain a critique of the stalled revolutionary movements of the 1960s that remains relevant in the 1990s and, indeed, in the present, they can also sometimes reconcile with the loss of potential in ways that resolve that defeat and even absolve the defeated.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReFocus
Subtitle of host publicationThe Films of Richard Linklater
EditorsKim Wilkins, Timotheus Vermeulen
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781474493857, 9781474493840
ISBN (Print)9781474493826
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

Publication series

NameReFocus: The American Directors Series
PublisherEdinburgh University Press


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