This is a course in international film cultures and world cinema, studying not only the diversity of film style and film cultures around the world, but also the theoretical concept of transnational or world cinema and its broader implications for film studies. While exploring the broad panorama of the history and form of films produced all over the world the course will set up important paradigms useful in approaching the topic as complex and wide as world cinema.
As we engage with examples of contemporary cinema from Iran, Brazil, Spain, Japan, China, South Korea, India, Africa, as well as numerous transnational productions and diasporic cinema, we will also engage the question of which films/cinemas get labeled as “world cinema” and what determines entry into the sphere of world cinema. As film has become a part of an enormous multinational system consisting of TV networks, new technologies of production and distribution, and international co-production, the concept of “world cinema” has become increasingly important, even as its meaning is unsettled. We will use and study it not only to refer to national cinemas outside Hollywood but to assert the importance of placing the national within global perspectives, and to see how “world cinema” raises a distinct set of problems and critical approaches from national cinema studies.