A term used in film studies in a range of shifting and loosely overlapping senses, and implying different critical, theoretical, and methodological perspectives.
1. Cinema in a global sense, embracing all cinemas of the world. This approach informs varyingly exhaustive multinational surveys, historical and otherwise, of the world’s cinemas and also some studies of media globalization. Until the late 1990s this was the most commonplace usage and understanding of the term.
2. Postcolonial studies of Third World cinemas, including cinemas embodying non-mainstream attitudes to film content and/or film style. ...
An influential organizing principle in film studies, locating films and cinemas within their national contexts and/or treating a country’s cinematic output as a distinct object of study. There are two underlying assumptions: firstly, that films produced within a particular national context will display some distillation of the historical, social, and political culture of that country; and secondly, that cinema (as one aspect of popular culture) plays a role in the construction of national identity. Until the 1980s, studies of national cinemas for the most part tended either to record histories of filmmaking in different countries; to document—and often to celebrate—the work of key auteur-directors whose films could be grounded within a particular national milieu; and/or to focus on a canon of ‘great’ films putatively embodying a national spirit. Ingmar Bergman’s films, for example, have been seen as coterminous with the cinema of Sweden, or at least as expressing something fundamental about the Swedish national character. Alternatively, particular themes, film styles, and genres have been read as in some sense ‘national’: the western in the US, for example; or cinéma vérité in France. Studies of national cinemas have also charted the ways in which cinema has been used purposefully as a means of consolidating—and even as constructing—national identities following independence struggles and decolonization (see Africa, film in; Arab cinema; postcolonialism) or social upheavals and revolutionary changes, as for example in Cuba and Iran. ...
This guide is here to showcase films and film-making around the world. You can also find resources which look at how a country is portrayed in film. Various countries or areas are located in the tabs.
Each page will list selected book titles, any journal titles specific to that country's film industry and a very short, selected list of films available through streaming or in the Jones Media Center.
To find other films, search the Library's online catalog. The catalog contains all the titles we own or can stream.
To see more resources found in the online catalog on world cinema, click here. The listings in this box are meant as a short introduction to world cinema.