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Courses / Modules / FILM2020 Global Cinemas

Global Cinemas

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 5
Module lead
Berenike Jung
Academic year

Module overview

While other modules in the Film Studies programme focus primarily on Hollywood and European cinema, in this module, this module aims to familiarise you with cinemas from other parts of the world, with celebrated and lesser-known examples of cinema from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. In addition, we will explore questions of production, distribution, and reception of films in a global economy, including scholarly reception within our own discipline.

The label ‘World cinema’ signals universality of the disparate films grouped under it, the ready mobility and availability of these films for our consumption, and an underlying separation of cinema into ‘the west’ versus ‘the rest.’ In this module, we will interrogate this idea of a ‘World cinema’: by tracing the historical emergence of this term, by exploring its limitations, and by critically interrogating this and similar labels in the context of the film studies curriculum.

Often understood as a reworking of ‘Third Cinema,’ which originated in Latin America in the late 1960s and was tied to national liberation movements, ‘World cinema’ emerged as an umbrella term to refer to various national cinemas outside Hollywood (as well as, for some, Europe). The module aims to problematize the concept of ‘national cinema,’ challenge notions of ‘pure cultures’, and ‘authenticity’ and explore prevalent tropes in the representation of ‘othered’ populations in main-stream and non-mainstream cinema.

Today, non-western cinema is still often marketed and consumed along categories of authenticity and exoticism, or on international (art) film festivals. Regional cinemas sometimes exploit culturally and ethnically specific cultures in ways that made them (and their makers) exportable and desirable abroad, often as a result of such market forces. Accordingly, we will discuss the categorization, circulation, and valorisation of films in the global marketplace. The module will build upon first year courses, challenging you to think about categories you have learnt about, such as genre, auteurism, audiences, festival circuits, and frameworks of circulation and funding within a broader horizon.

In addition to learning about and paying attention to such historically and locally specific power relations, we will also study examples of aesthetic tendencies travelling across countries, filmmakers, and languages. We will explore how hybrid forms, fusions of local and global aesthetics have continuously emerged, long before the latest era of globalization and transnational co-productions.

Linked modules

FILM1001 or FILM1002 or FILM2006