Why Is the Term “World Cinema” Problematic?


23 Mar 2015 15 Dec 2017

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Generally the term “World cinema” is used for films produced in different countries of world, especially non-English speaking countries, i.e. why some people tries to explain it as a foreign language cinema. But world cinema is a much broader concept which includes the commercial and the artistic films produced by the third world countries. Actually, it has many different meanings than foreign language cinema. World cinema refers to all filmmaking countries. There is a lot of misunderstandings and complications regarding this term.

To have the proper understanding of world cinema first we should have to go through with the world cinema history.

Cinema was started from the year 1880s by US, but the duration between the years 1880 and 1904 is actually known as the American silent era. In these early years of cinema there a lot of inventions and innovations took place. Filmmaking was the commercial medium in US. There the first camera was invented by Dickson in the year 1890 and then first film was made. With the time many new inventions were been made. Some small studios were also made where audience could watch the film for some money. At that time cinema was limited to US audience only.

At the same time, France was also efforting for cinema. In France, the Lumiere brothers invented the combination of camera, and projector named Cinematograph. And they were the first person there who produced movies and projected it publically in Paris in the year 1895.They continued it with filming many more events in France and send them to London and New York. In the year 1896, the first exhibition of Cinematograph took place in Latin America and after that it travelled many cities of the world like Bombay, Shenghai, Dakar, Manilla, etc.There, some more production companies and distribution companies distributed many films to US which improvised the image of cinema in Europe and US. But at the time of first world war, most of the European film industries were affected badly and most of them got shut. Due to which French Cinema lost its market. After the end of World War, French companies again tried to stand their industry. French film industry linked to to some art movements like Impressionism, DADA, and surrealism.

Impressionism began in 1860 in France, and many of impressionists believed that art should not be competed with realism and it should pick the artist`s impression to the external world. There should be impressionists films which should relate to the viewer`s heart and value. They should express emotional and mental states of film characters by manipulating the use of camera. According to them, there should be subjective camera work, use of optical devices and rhythmic reading.

Before the First World War, German cinema was relatively insignificant industry. There was very little emphasis on film making until the govt. Recognised potential political value of cinema. Ultimately, due to the war the German cinema grew up. Where as, it declined in the rest part of Europe. The major cause of growth of German cinema was growth of isolationism. The German industrialists and politicians encouraged the German cinema a lot as they were politically influenced.

Almost it became the legacy of German golden age. It gave a good impact on Hollywood by reinforcement of character and narrative visually conveyed.

Before the revolution in 1917, Russian cinema was struggling to survive.There was a few number of films produced at that time but after the end of revolution, it passed through much more bad condition as there were conflicts between the red people and white people.That time the Russian cinema was almost finished due to the attacks by the foreign powers.there were some practice made by the government to save it.At that time Constructivism,the art movement, circus and montage were the influence there.According to these purpose of the art was to serve the society.Russian filmmakers changed there vision for film and approached films as scientists.Then popular art was taken as much effective that the traditional arts and there were visual effects been much emphasised than the story.

British cinema was similar to the cinema of US with almost same technical, narrative and popularity.But with an increase in the number of sstudios in US it was down than Hollywood.British cinema was dominated by Hollywood because of the same language.In the year 1927 The British government passed Quota Act which was designed to limitise the import of Hollywood film in Britain and to stimulate the British films.But it was not running good in it early and mid cinematic history.But after the huge success of a British movie “The private life of Henry vii&rsquo in US, British cinema again started running well.Then in the year 1938 a new quota act was introduced and many British filmmakers came back on work with new style and The respect for realism, social issueslike domestic problems and Fascism in Europe. There was a significant contribution on doucumenatries afterwards.At the time of World War 11, a team of filmmakers working under government prepared for the war and began with the production of propaganda films.

After the war Italys most significant era of film making occurred in 1942-51 with a movement known as “Italian Neorealism&rsquo. At this time the themes of the Italian films were focussed on the social and political issues and realism bordering on documentaries.Italian film industry was influenced by the other national cinemas like US, France and Great Britain.But before the Neorealism Italian films were made with high production values and special effects.These films were used to be imported by US.And it was popular in all over the Europe.But in 1920 the Fascist government came in rule and made the propaganda films and required theatre to show them. The government tried to control the film industry by it own but was unable to control effectively. The Fascist government provided two institutions named “Cinecitta' and “Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia'. Cincitta was a huge production center with 12 sound stages which got some damaged at the time of the war.And the second one was a state-sponsored filmmaking school.In the era of Neorealism 1st real Neorealist film was made named “open city' in the year 1945. Italian cinema was not popular even in Italy and US audience never accepted it.US took its advantage by making co-productions in Italy.French Poetic Realism affected the Neorealism and Hollywood was enjoying the advantages of Neorealism.

After the war Europe became the true competitive of Hollywood for which the two world wars became the reasons.After world war ll Western Europe promoted the “auteurism' means meant to be the personal expressions of individual artists.

In the late 1940 and 50s a new term came in existence ' Tradition of Quality'.There were studio systems. theatrical and literary and high production values.One more theory was there the “AUTEUR THEORY'.According to this theoryfilms should be a medium of self expression.The Auteur critics rejected the the French tradition of Quality by saying that French cinema is much literary than cinematic.These critics preferred directors of French Poetic Realism and Italian Neorealism.Then the French New Wave took place there from year 1959-68. The directors of the new waves were critics first who were not influenced by the stage and literature but by the films and borrowed money for the low-budget films.The films produced in this period were not narratively influenced, their cinematic style and editing styles were not good.but when the French new Wave declined in the year 1968, many directors were absorbed into the French studio system and made the popular films which were low-budget popular and praised internationally.It was a major step in the European art cinema.These influenced the other movments and national cinemas like US,British,etc.The Auteur Theory became universal world wide directors approached this theory.


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