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 Welcome to the website for the international symposium “No one listens to Springsteen anymore. He’s history!”: Pop-rock Music and 2000s Cinema”, co-organised by the research groups CREW EA 4399 (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, France) and CIRLEP EA4299 (Université Reims Champagne-Ardenne, France)

Over the last 20 years, popular music has featured more prominently in cinemas, notably in the form of music biopics that dramatise the lives and careers of popular musicians across the generic spectrum: from rock and pop to country folk, blues, soul or rhythm and blues. A cursory glance at such biopics as Blinded by the Light (2019), Rocketman (2019), or Ray (2004) testifies to the tonal breadth and vitality of this syncretic genre.

In fictionalising the cultural and the personal, music biopics conflate two popular art forms - cinema and music - that intermingle individual and collective experiences and speak to the collective consciousness and popular imaginary.

Music biopics can be approached as a peculiar social binding process whereby imaginary identification with a popular musician enables a momentary collapse of ordinary subjective, interpersonal, and social boundaries.

In thus bringing together individuals with otherwise loose social interactions, music biopics provide an experience of collective identity and therefore a means to define oneself both individually and collectively by placing oneself into wider cultural narratives. 

To what extent do music biopics operate as transnational “memory sites”, namely immaterial objects that crystallise individual or collective memory, suspend time, and bind together various social groups around peculiar values and ideals in order to lay claim to a collective identity? Could music biopics be conducive to a global popular imaginary?

This symposium aims to probe the popular dimension of rock and pop biopics from 2000 to the present. In particular, it seeks to investigate the social and cultural processes at work, and their impact in terms of popular imaginary, values, and collective cultural identity.  

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