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Film History: Silent Period (18951929)

The earliest American films, which appeared around 1895, were primarily a working-class
pastime. Because they told stories without words, they appealed to the large, mostly illiterate
immigrant population in the United States. After 1900, film became a more middle-class
phenomenon, as filmmakers exploited films storytelling potential by adapting bourgeois
novels (which incorporated middle-class values) for the screen.
Until 1914, the major national film industries resided in Italy, France, and the United States.
However, World War I devastated the Italian and French film industries, allowing American
producers to gain the upper hand on the global market. The major American production
companies pooled their film technology patents and used their patent leverage to impose
block booking on exhibitors (movie theater owners), which forced exhibitors to buy lowerquality product along with high-quality product.
Exhibitors fought back, vertically integrating by buying small production companies, and
eventually managed to beat out the major producers because they were quicker to adopt
feature-length films, which proved more commercially successful than the earlier shorts.
From 19071913, many production companies moved from New York City to Los Angeles to
take advantage of the warm weather that allowed for year-round outdoor production, giving
birth to the Hollywood film industry. The costs associated with vertical integration forced
Hollywood studios to seek investment from Wall Street financiers. This development, along
with the industrial modes of production pioneered by Thomas Ince and the bourgeois
storytelling conventions introduced by Edwin S. Porter and D. W. Griffith, turned Hollywood
into a profit-driven enterprise and its films into commercial commodities.

Major Movements
German Expressionism: Influenced by the art movements of expressionism and
constructivism, German filmmakers working for the Berlin-based mega-studio Ufa created a
series of important films from 19191933, until Hitler came to power. These films sought to
express the individual and collective subjectivities, desires, and fantasies of their characters
through chiaroscuro lighting; irregular, perspectival set design and camera angles; bold
costumes and make-up; and melodramatic gestures and movement. Films of the period
featured characters with regressive personalities, motivated to rebel against authority and
tradition yet alienated by the chaotic social world of sensual excess and deception that
surrounds them. The films mise-en-scne, though psychologically expressive, often threatens
to reduce the characters into props, their actions into impersonal patterns, and their concerns
into romantic abstractions. Key films include Robert Wienes The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
(1919), F. W. Murnaus The Last Laugh (1924), and Fritz Langs Metropolis (1927).
Soviet montage: Soviet filmmakers saw editing as the foundation of film art and therefore
used the shot, not the scene, as the primary unit of film language and meaning. Influenced by
D. W. Griffiths Intolerance (1916), the Lev Kuleshov Workshops, and the futurist and
formalist avant-gardes, Soviet filmmakers used dialectical montage to create dynamic
juxtapositions aimed at eliciting specific intellectual and emotional responses. Their films
sought to portray both the inhumanity of czarist rule and the revolutionary potential, daily
labors, and communal bonds of the Soviet people. Key films include Sergei Eisensteins

Battleship Potemkin (1925), Vsevolod Pudovkins The End of St. Petersburg (1927), and
Dziga Vertovs A Man With a Movie Camera (1929).
French avant-garde: Influenced by Dadaism, surrealism, and poetic naturalism, French
experimental filmmakers made a series of innovative films that explored the medium as a
purely visual form, constructed surrealist non-narrative dreamscapes, and used symbolism to
externalize the psychology of their characters. Key films include Abel Gances La Roue
(1922), Germaine Dulacs La Souriante Madame Beudet (1922), Fernand Legers Ballet
Mcanique (1924), Ren Clairs Entracte (1924), and Luis Buuels Un Chien Andalou
(1929).

Major Directors and Producers


Lumire, Auguste and Louis: In 1895, the Lumire brothers invented a machine, the
Cinmatographe, that could shoot, print, and project moving pictures. It was superior to
Thomas Edisons Kinetograph (1891) because it was portable, allowing for easy
transportation and outdoor use. On December 28, 1895, a date widely considered the birthday
of cinema, the Lumires held a public screening of five of their first films, including Workers
Leaving the Lumire Factory and The Arrival of a Train at the Station. As the titles suggest,
the Lumire films were primarily nonfiction recordings of everyday occurrences, although
some also included staged comedic and dramatic elements. The Lumires sent camera crews
abroad to shoot and exhibit films, inspiring the birth of film industries around the world and
garnering them international fame. The Cinmatographe used 35-millimeter film and had a
projection speed of 16 frames per secondtechnical specifications that would become
industry standards in the silent period.
Mlis, Georges: While the Lumire brothers demonstrated cinemas documentary function,
Mlis is considered the first to explore the mediums potential for fictional storytelling. In
films such as A Trip to the Moon (1902), Mlis created whimsical adventure stories that
were shot on elaborate stage sets and that became popular for their sight gags and
otherworldly imagery. Mlis was a pioneer in the use of optical effects, editing, mise-enscne, and lighting design. His inventive and fantastical films revealed the mediums ability
to convey artistic creativity and imagination.
Porter, Edwin S.: Porters two 1903 films, Life of a Fireman and The Great Train Robbery,
feature groundbreaking editing techniques such as simultaneous parallel action, elliptical
shifts in time and location, and cutting away from scenes before completion. These films
were the first to use the shot, rather than the scene, as the primary unit of composition, as
well as the first to establish causality and meaning between shots. The Great Train Robbery
was the most successful film made before 1912, establishing cinema as a viable profitmaking enterprise.
Griffith, D. W.: Griffith is a controversial figure whose career combined unrivaled technical
ingenuity with highly objectionable political views. During his most productive period,
19081913, Griffith directed 450 one-reel films. He is considered the principal architect of
classical Hollywood editing, with innovations such as accelerated, associative, and parallel
montage; psychological editing with cuts from medium to close shots; and use of flashbacks
and switchbacks. Griffith also pioneered new compositional techniques, such as tracking

shots, high- and low-angle shots, and realistic lighting. His film The Birth of a Nation (1915)
is technically brilliant and emotionally gripping but also ideologically insidious in its racism
and historical revisionism. The film was very successful financially, accorded the medium of
film great prestige, and swayed later Hollywood production toward emotional, melodramatic,
and sensational narratives.
Ince, Thomas: Ince directed over 100 films but is better known as a producer who in 1912
founded Inceville, the first modern Hollywood studio. Ince established firm hierarchies,
supervising all aspects of production and retaining authority over the final cut of all films.
The studio used five self-contained shooting stages, production units each headed by a
different director, and detailed shooting scripts with strict timetables that planned out
production shot-by-shot. Inceville became the model for Hollywoods industrial mode of film
production.
Sennett, Mack: Sennett was the founder of silent-screen slapstick comedy, producing
thousands of one- and two-reel films and hundreds of features between 1912 and 1935.
Sennetts films depict an anarchic universe in which logic of narrative and character falls
victim to purely visual humor. Influenced by vaudeville, circus, burlesque, pantomime, comic
strips, and Max Linders French chase films, Sennetts signature style features rapid-fire
editing, violent yet harmless gags, last-minute rescues, and parodies of other films. Many of
the silent eras comedy greats, such as Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Harry Langdon, and
W. C. Fields began their careers working with Sennett.
Chaplin, Charlie: Between 1914 and 1918, Chaplin became the first international film
superstar when he wrote, directed, and starred in short films as the Tramp, a comic figure
with baggy pants, oversized shoes, cropped mustache, derby suit, and cane. For Chaplin,
comedy was not an end in itself but a means to examine the impact of social forces and
structures on individual freedom and happiness. The Tramp is full of contradictions:
pragmatic, courageous, and ingenious but also romantic, vulnerable, and socially awkward.
Chaplins criticism of authority figures, moral and political orthodoxies, and material and
psychological divisions between classes and genders reached its peak in later feature-length
works, such as City Lights (1931) and Monsieur Verdoux (1947).

Modern Times (1936)


Keaton, Buster: Raised on a tradition of vaudeville, Keaton began directing features in 1923.
Unlike Sennetts brand of comedy, Keatons is never ridiculous and does not undermine the
dramatic logic of his narratives. His humor is based on a brainy, at times philosophical, use of
irony that explores the inexorability of catastrophic actions threatening human existence.
Keatons style is defined by his stoneface persona (in contrast to Chaplins sentimental
expressiveness) and the kinesthetic energy and precise synchronization of his stunts, whose
danger is part of their appeal. Keatons The General (1925), a box-office failure now
considered a masterpiece, explores the linearity of narrative and the primacy of visual over
verbal communication in silent cinema. It displays the same distrust about technologys
impact on human labor that is found in Chaplins Modern Times (1936).
Micheaux, Oscar: Micheaux was one of the most important American independent
filmmakers of the silent era. He established the Micheaux film company and, between 1918

and 1948, wrote, directed, produced, and distributed more than 30 films. An AfricanAmerican, Micheaux made films with black casts targeted at black audiences, seeking to
counter the prejudiced, historically inaccurate, and disempowering representations of racial
minorities in the Hollywood cinema of the period.
Dreyer, Carl Theodor: The Danish director Dreyer directed what many consider to be the
greatest silent film ever made, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), a triumph of realism and
spiritual expressiveness. Depicting the trial of Joan of Arc, the films courtroom scenes are
shot almost exclusively in close-up, situating all the films meaning and drama in the slightest
movements of its protagonists face. Dreyer continued to investigate the power of faith in a
world of skepticism and hardship and the connection between the material and spiritual
realms in acclaimed sound films such as Day of Wrath (1943) and Ordet (1954).

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)


Flaherty, Robert: Considered the founder of the documentary form, Flaherty rose to
prominence with his first film, Nanook of the North (1922). It was the first feature-length
documentary to become a commercial hit and inspired a generation of documentary
filmmakers around the world. Flahertys principal innovation was to organize nonfiction
events into a narrative that told a compelling story. Like many documentaries and
ethnographic films, Nanook contains fictional elements, reflecting Flahertys admiration for
Inuit culture but also his desire to cast it as a primitive society without any material relation
to the modern Western world. The scrutiny over Nanooks factual accuracy has been applied
to many other documentaries over the years, reflecting the increased ethical burden that
documentary filmmakers bear in the presentation of their work.
Other major directors: Cecil B. DeMille, Ernst Lubitsch, King Vidor, Erich von Stroheim.

Silent Cinema 1895-1929:


The Frenchman Louis Lumiere is sometimes credited as the inventor of the motion picture
camera in 1895. Other inventors preceded him, and Lumiere's achievement should always be
considered in the context of this creative period. Lumiere's portable, suitcase-sized
cinematographe served as a camera, film processing unit, and projector all in one. He could
shoot footage in the morning, process it in the afternoon, and then project it to an audience
that evening. His first film was the arrival of the express train at Ciotat. Other subjects
included workers leaving the factory gates, a child being fed by his parents, people enjoying a
picnic along a river. The ease of use and portability of his device soon made it the rage in
France. Cinematographes soon were in the hands of Lumiere followers all over the world,
and the motion picture era began. The American Thomas Alva Edison was a competitor of
Lumiere's, and his invention predated Lumiere's. But Edison's motion picture camera was
bulky and not portable. The "promoter" in Lumiere made the difference in this competition.
For the first twenty years of motion picture history most silent films were short--only a few
minutes in length. At first a novelty, and then increasingly an art form and literary form, silent
films reached greater complexity and length in the early 1910's. The films on the list above

represent the greatest achievements of the silent era, which ended--after years of
experimentation--in 1929 when a means of recording sound that would be synchronous with
the recorded image was discovered. Few silent films were made in the 1930s, with the
exception of Charlie Chaplin, whose character of the Tramp perfected expressive physical
moves in many short films in the 1910's and 1920s. When the silent era ended, Chaplin
refused to go along with sound; instead, he maintained the melodramatic Tramp as his
mainstay in City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936). The trademarks of Chaplin's
Tramp were his ill-fitting suit, floppy over-sized shoes and a bowler hat, and his ever-present
cane. A memorable image is Chaplin's Tramp shuffling off, penguin-like, into the sunset and
spinning his cane whimsically as he exits. He represented the "little guy," the underdog,
someone who used wit and whimsy to defeat his adversaries.

Eisenstein's contribution to the development of cinema rested primarily in his theory of


editing, or montage, which focused on the collision of opposites in order to create a new
entity. One of the greatest achievements in editing is the Odessa Steps sequence, in his film
Potemkin (1925). Eisenstein intercut between shots of townspeople trapped on the steps by
Czarist troops, and shots of the troops firing down upon the crowd. Members of the crowd
became individual characters to viewers as the montage continued. Within the editing track
the fate of these individuals was played out. A mother picks up her dead child and confronts
the troops. Then she is shot. A student looks on in terror and then flees--his fate uncertain. An
old woman prays to be spared, but she is killed by a soldier who slashes her face with his
saber. When a woman holding her baby carriage is killed, she falls to the steps, and the
carriage begins a precipitous decline--shots of the baby crying are intercut with wide shots of
the carriage rolling down the steps. To Eisenstein, each individual shot contributed an energy
within the editing track that yielded far more than the sum total of shots. In other words, the
"combination" of shots through editing created a new entity, based on the expressive
emotional energy unleashed through the editing process.

Brian De Palma imitated the Odessa Steps sequence in The Untouchables (1987) in a scene
where Kevin Costner, playing Eliot Ness, and his companions are waiting to ambush several
mobsters. This confrontation is punctuated by the use of the baby carriage plummeting down
a long series of steps while the good guys and the bag guys remain in a standoff. A more
effective homage to Eisenstein can be seen in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse, Now
(1976), when at the end of the film a cow is slaughtered ritualistically by the native people
deep in the Vietnamese jungle. Shots of the slaughter are intercut with shots of the Martin
Sheen character wielding a machete against the hulking Marlon Brando character, the crazed
former American officer who has retreated to the jungle from the horrors of war and has
become a sort of deity to the native people in his compound. Coppola was aware of a famous
scene in Eistenstein's Strike (1925), when two dramatic scenes are intercut: one of Czarist
troops massacre peasants, another of a cow being butchered.

Although the technology for making movies was invented in 1895, a significant realization of
the potential for film as art occurs with the appareance of D. W. Griffith's 1915 full-length

epic, Birth of a Nation.


In this film Griffith utilized crosscutting (parallel editing)
effectively, particularly at the climax, when a number of editing tracks play off one another.
He also portrayed battle scenes magnificently, with action in one set of shots moving from
left to right, while action in another set of shots moves from right to left. But Griffith's work
is diminished severely by the overt racism employed in characterizations and plotting and the
positive portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan. As a sidelight, readers interested in films about
Griffith should check Good Morning, Babylon (1987), directed by the Taviani brothers. It
tells the story of two Italian immigrants who become carpenters on the set of Griffith's epic
film Intolerance (1916). The English actor Charles Dance plays Griffith. Other well-known
Griffith melodramas include Broken Blossoms (1919) and Way Down East (1920).

The German directors listed below deserve credit for their experimentation with unusual
camera angles and complex stage settings. Two examples of this approach is The Cabinet of
Dr. Caligari (1919) by Robert Wiene and the nightmare-like Nosferatu (1919) by F. W.
Murnau. The latter is also credited with perfecting the use of visual language in The Last
Laugh (1924), a film about a lonely old man who is ridiculed by others. Few titles are used in
the film because Murnau is able to communicate meaning by virtue of well-placed visual
cues. One of the most unforgettable openings to a film is the opening scene from M (1931),
directed by Fritz Lang. In that opening a child is shown playing with a ball. These shots are
intercut with shots of the child's mother setting the table for a meal. As the scenes progress, it
becomes evident that someone is following the child. Meanwhile, the mother completes the
table setting. The last shot in the scene shows the ball rolling away. Where is the child? The
murderer (M) has taken her. Fritz Lang went on to make films in America in the 1930s and
1940s. Another German director who went to Hollywood is F. W. Murnau. He made his first
American film in 1927. The film, Sunrise, portrayed a married man's downfall when he is
seduced by an evil dark temptress.

A last note: the 1922 film Nanook of the North, directed by the American Robert Flaherty, is
often credited as the first great achievement of documentary (or non-fiction) film. Flaherty
lived among the Eskimos for six months, edited the film back in America, and was lauded for
his achievement when the film premiered in New York City. Only a few documentary titles
will appear in the lists of films that follow. I hope you will enjoy perusing these lists and
consider renting titles you have not viewed before.

Studio System:
Stars powered the American Studio System from 1934-1946. Various studios, such as 20thCentury Fox (1935), Paramount Pictures (1912), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1924), Columbia
Pictures (1920), and Warner Brothers (1923) held long-term contracts both on directors and
stars. A listing of some of the stars under contract to the studios gives some idea of the Studio
System's power during these years.

20th Century Fox: Directors--Ernst Lubitsch, Otto Preminger, Henry Hathaway, and Elia
Kazan. Actors--Shirley Temple, Loretta Young, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Tyrone
Power, Don Ameche, Henry Fonda, and Gregory Peck.
Paramount: Actors--Mary Pickford, Mae West, W. C. Fields, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Gary
Cooper, Claudette Colbert, Alan Ladd, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas.
Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM): Directors--Eric Von Stroheim, Fritz Lang, George Cukor,
Victor Fleming. Actors--Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, James
Stewart, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor.
Warner Brothers: Actors--Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Jimmy Cagney, Bette
Davis, Errol Flynn, Peter Lorre.
Stars weren't free to seek their own contracts during these years. Often stars would be
"loaned" by one studio to another for a particular project with the expectation that such offers
would be reimbursed in kind. Stars also worked on more than one picture at a time and often
were expected to churn out four or five pictures a year. For instance, Humphrey Bogart
starred in 36 films between 1934 and 1942. Casablanca was one of four pictures he
completed in 1943.
A major source of revenue for the studios was their ownership of large theater chains. But in
1949 the studios were forced to divest themselves of these theater empires because of their
monopolistic practices. The advent of television in the 1950s, the rise of the director as
auteur, and the ability of actors to become "free agents" led to the demise of the old Studio
System.
The four films directed by Frank Capra, noted on the list above, represented a major source of
income for Columbia Pictures, the studio who had him under contract. He worked for
Columbia for more than ten years, and his films appealed to a broad audience hungry for
sentimental stories about the underlying goodness of the common man and woman. Gary
Cooper, who starred in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and Meet John Doe (1941) was the
embodiment of this theme. His tall, awkward, and humble persona created an instant empathy
with his audience. He was the quintessential American--a bit naive, inarticulate, and
stumbling. But push him too hard and he became determined, focused, and unbeatable.
Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1945) has become a holiday classic on American television for
similar reasons. Jimmy Stewart plays a halting, bumbling family man who has never set foot
outside his small town American setting. But by the end of the film the good deeds he has
done for his townspeople are repaid a hundred fold by his neighbors.
When the English director Alfred Hitchcock made his first American film in 1940 (Rebecca),
he joined the pantheon of famous directors under contract by the American studios. His 1941
film, Suspicion, was made for RKO Pictures (Radio-Keith-Orpheum); and the same studio
took a gigantic risk by refusing to back down under the campaign waged by William
Randolph Hearst to prevent Citizen Kane (1941), directed by Orson Welles, from ever seeing
the light of day.
But the list of films above is gleaned from thousands of films that were made by the studios
between 1934-1946. Most of the films were little more than popular entertainments. These
films have become classics partly because they represent some of the best work done by the

following actors: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland,
John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Humphrey Bogart,
Ingrid Bergman, Ray Milland. They also are classics because their directors maintained a
consistent style and achieved a vision of their genre--Capra of the sentimental comedy,
Hitchcock of suspense, John Ford of the American Western, Howard Hawks of the fast-paced
comedy of dialogue.
Classic Films from the Hollywood Studios, 1934-1946
YEAR

FILM

DIRECTOR

1934

It Happened One Night

Frank Capra

1936

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Frank Capra

1937

Captains Courageous

Victor Fleming

1939

Stagecoach

John Ford

1939

The Wizard of Oz

Victor Fleming

1939

Gone With the Wind

Victor Fleming

1940

The Grapes of Wrath

John Ford

1940

His Girl Friday

Howard Hawks

1940

The Philadelphia Story

George Cukor

1940

Rebecca

Alfred Hitchcock

1941

Citizen Kane

Orson Welles

1941

Maltese Falcon

John Huston

1941

Meet John Doe

Frank Capra

1941

How Green Was My Valley

John Ford

1941

Shepherd of the Hills

Henry Hathaway

1941

Suspicion

Alfred Hitchcock

1942

Casablanca

Michael Curtiz

1942

The Magnificent Ambersons

Orson Welles

1944

The Maltese Falcon

John Huston

1945

It's a Wonderful Life

Frank Capra

1945

The Lost Weekend

Billy Wilder

1946

Notorious

Alfred Hitchcock

1946

The Big Sleep

Howard Hawks

1946

My Darling Clementine

John Ford

Evolution of Classical Hollywood Cinema:


Upon viewing films like Bergman's The Virgin Spring (1960), Renoir's The Grand Illusion
(1936), or De Sica's Umberto D. (1952), I was transfixed by the subtleties of character, the
psychological tensions that evolved through complex relationships, the ambiguities of human
behavior and interpersonal relationships. An entire course could be organized around some of
the films in the list below. No wonder I incorporate some of these films in my introductory
course. Unlike the production-line films made as part of the American Studio System, these
international films were completed by small crews working outside corporate sponsorship. In
some respects many of these international films are similar in scope and production to the
independent films that came to prominence around the world in the 1980s. Perhaps that is
part of their charm; they are idiosyncratic, original, and don't depend upon "star" power to
make them successful. In other words, independent productions tend to reflect the artistic
personality of the director moreso than films that have to be accepted by Studio executives.
Many people don't know that Alfred Hitchcock directed films in England before he directed
films in America. His first American film was Rebecca (1940); it starred the famous English
actor Sir Laurence Olivier. Hitchcock started as a director of well-crafted and well-acted
suspense films in the 1930s. Four of his early films are listed in the chart below. Each of the
films feature spies and international intrigue. Perhaps the best film is The Lady Vanishes
(1938), which features a complicated plot about mistaken identities and characters frustrated
because no one will believe their versions of the "truth"--both trademarks of later Hitchcock
films.

The French director Jean Renoir, the son of the famous Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir,
made two great films, Grand Illusion (1936) and The Rules of the Game (1939). Although
both films seem stilted by modern standards of cinema viewing, they have the power to sneak
up on a viewer who regards them with patience and attention. In the former the presence of
the great French actor Jean Gabin is enough to make the viewing experience a pleasure.
Gabin is a hulking figure with an expressive face, whose physical presence on the screen
reminds me of the contemporary French actor Gerard Depardieu. The classic German director
Eric Von Stroheim plays a major role in the film as well; his formality and military bearing
are an excellent complement to Gabin's roughness and informality. An interlude between
Gabin's character and a young German woman is a welcome interlude to the despair

throughout most of the film; and the film's closing scene is one of the greatest in cinema as it
provides a release from despair and a hope for a new life for Gabin's character. The Rules of
the Game exposes the ills of class and privilege and indicts people in those ranks for their
insensitivity and needless cruelty. In Renoir and Hitchcock one could not find two more
different directors--one who is patient with long takes and slow-paced actions; the other who
builds psychological tensions with deliberate and well-timed cuts.

Italian Neo-Realism flourished in the post World War II years. This movement depended
upon filming characters in actual locations (rather than studio sets) and often focused on the
lives of common men and women in the difficult years after the end of the war. Major films
from this period are noted on the chart above. My favorites are two by Vittorio De Sica, The
Bicycle Thief (1949) and Umberto D. (1952). The first is an extraordinarily moving
document of the desperation faced by a family whose survival after the war depends upon the
father's having a bicycle in order to keep his job. The stolen bicycle leads the father and his
small son on an anguished journey. De Sica's nonprofessional actors are often wooden and
one-dimensional; yet the way the camera captures the father's chiseled features infuses the
action with a tenderness and sincerity that is compelling. De Sica's use of long tracking shots
of row after row of bicycles or bicycle parts adds to the reality of the film experience. De
Sica's style suggests that we are present on the streets with the father and the son and are
witness to the futility of their search for the stolen bicycle.

The other Italian director in the chart above is Federico Fellini, who completed three
masterpieces from 1954 to 1960. The first was La Strada (1954), a poignant tale about the
relationship between a one-man traveling circus strongman (played by Anthony Quinn), and
an innocent waif (played by Fellini's wife, Giuletta Masina). The uncouth strongman resists
the intimacy and security of this interpersonal relationship, and Fellini is able to exact an
extraordinary tenderness from their interaction. The Nights of Cabiria (1957) tells the story of
a desperate prostitute (again played by Masina), and La Dolce Vita (1960) exposes the brutal
and insensitive side of the "good life" lived by spoiled and self-centered men and women
who spend their days and nights drinking and carousing wildly. Of the three my favorite is
Cabiria, because Masina's character has such spark and tenacity and integrity of character as
the lowly prostitute. The combination of sprituality, moral degradation, and a woman's
continual search for fulfillment are interwoven against the context of richly-detailed and
memorable scenes.

The post-World War II years in France led to another breakthrough in film history, the new
wave, which refers to a series of French films completed between 1958 and 1960. This
informal movement was stimulated by the critical writing of Andre Bazin, cofounder of the
film periodical Cahiers de Cinema (1951). In his writing Bazin promoted the ideals of the
auteur theory; that is, the director is the "author" of the film. Many forces contributed to the
development of the New Wave--in some respects it was time for new faces and fresh ideas to
be realized. Several young French directors stepped forward, including Louis Malle, Francois
Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, and Jean Luc Godard. Francois Truffaut's early films were emblematic

of the New Wave. His The 400 Blows (1959) emphasized exterior locales, hand-held camera
shots, tracking shots, and long takes, and the film was dedicated to Bazin. In this heavily
autobiographical film Truffaut exposes the rawness and frustrations of childhood life. The
main character lives on the edge of naivet and cynicism; he is trapped by family, by school,
by society as a whole. His symbolic cage becomes a jail cell by the end of the film. The film's
closing scene, with the boy escaping the reformatory and running toward the sea, is one of the
most memorable in all of cinema. The closing shot--an unexpected freeze frame--was an
original idea in 1959 (although by today's standards it appears dated and even mundane). I
regard Ingmar Bergman as one of the great directors in cinema history. Five of his early films
are listed on the chart above. Each is a masterpiece. I have taught The Seventh Seal (1957)
and The Virgin Spring (1960) several times, and each time I learn more about Bergman's
ideas and cinematic vision. The powerful presence of Max Von Sydow in each film also adds
to their quality. Viewers can't forget Von Sydow's tortured expressions as the knight who has
lost faith in The Seventh Seal and the desperate father, who inflicts a perfect revenge on his
daughter's killers, in The Virgin Spring . Bergman's autobiography, The Magic Lantern, is
well worth reading. He continued to direct films into the 1970s, and in late life has turned to
writing screenplays based upon autobiographical materials. The first one, Best Intentions,
was made into an excellent film by Bille August, a Danish director, in 1992. The film tells the
story of how Bergman's parents met and married, and it ends just before Ingmar was born.
The second film tells the story of Ingmar's childhood relationship with his older brother. This
screenplay was also filmed. Two other directors deserve special recognition. One of first
international films I viewed was Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1951). I probably saw it for
the first time in 1977. I was astonished with Kurosawa's vision. His story of a rape and
murder of a woman is told from the point of view of four different characters (one of whom is
the woman's ghost). I was familiar with this approach in literature (Faulkner's The Sound and
the Fury is an obvious analogue); but in film the experience provided an innovative approach.
I was overwhelmed with the simplicity of the camera style. Low camera angles on seated
characters placed me in the position of a character seated opposite the one on the screen. I
was brought into the world of the film through that technique. The characters revealed
themselves through the action. I felt a similar response to Ikiru (1951), which focuses on the
personal development of a humble and unassuming civil servant who suddenly finds a reason
for living when he is diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer. The humanity of this character,
and the meaning of his life, is revealed through his interactions with people he willingly
serves. The title translates appropriately as "To Live." Kurosawa's style evolved beyond the
1960s. Other titles directed by him are listed in later pages of this history. The last director I
discovered from this list is the Bengali director Satyajit Ray. In 1996 a retrospective of his
films was shown in art theaters across the country. For many it was an introduction to a
director who can hold his own with a Bergman, Fellini, Truffaut, Kurosawa, or De Sica. I
have special affection for three films by Ray. I saw the films on scratchy video copies rented
from a video store near campus in 1991. Ray's career as a director was inspired by a viewing
of Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief. That inspiration led to a remarkable trilogy of films,
Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), and The World of Apu (1959). The three films tell
the story of a one person in three stages of life: as a child, an adolescent, and a young man.
The stories are straightforward, told in realistic style, and restate basic human truths: birth,
death, love, loss, faith, despair, loneliness, regeneration. In the first a son is born; a daughter
dies. The family's home is destroyed by a storm. They leave for the city. In the second the

father dies, the mother and son return to live in the country, and the boy grows up to be a
good student. But he ignores his Mother and is embarrassed by her. Eventually he is
devastated emotionally when he fails to return home from school in time before she dies. In
the third a young man marries, his wife bears a child, and then she dies. In despair he
becomes dissolute; her family takes his son away from him. At the end of the film he is
reunited with his son in one of the greatest closing scenes in all of cinema. Viewers who are
patient with Ray's slow-paced cinematic style will be rewarded. He is the master of the
metaphorical cut. In one film the death of a parent is accompanied by the sudden flight of
birds. Students can learn much about the power of editing by careful attention to Ray's style.
An excellent resource for studying many of these films, and gaining insights on the
influences of international cinema on American films, is the book Foreign Affairs: The
National Society of Film Critics' Video Guide to Foreign Films, edited by Kathy Schulz
Huffhines, San Francisco: Mercury House, 1991 (paperback). The text refers to three waves
of films. The French New Wave is treated as a second wave (precursors to that movement are
treated in the First Wave section). In the section The Next Wave, films from Africa, Australia,
New Zealand, and China are noted. Several sections devoted to recommended films from a
variety of countries follows. The book should be required reading for all cinemaphiles.

World Cinema: Iran


It is claimed that the first film made in Iran was of the coronation of Muzaffar al-Din Shah in
1896 photographed by Rusi Khan. However there is no evidence to substantiate the claim.
But it is certain that Shah during his visit to Paris in 1900 saw moving pictures, liked them,
ordered his official photographer to purchase motion picture equipment. Thus cinema became
a diversion for royal court and well-to-do section of the society when it came to Iran (1900).
The early film making in Iran was often supported by the royalty of the time who were
interested only in the entertainment value of the medium. Therefore, most of films of this
period are news reels of activities, such as various royal and religious ceremonies which were
mostly screened in the royal palace. One could see these newsreels at the homes of dignitaries
during weddings, circumcision celebrations and birth ceremonies.
The first pioneer of this film era is Mirza Ebrahim Khan Akasbashi who was the official
photographer in the court of Muzzafar-e Din Shah, the fifth Shah of the Qajar dynasty. The
second, Mandy Russi Khan, who originally was from Russia, filmed Moharram mourning
ceremonies (processed in Russia and not shown in Iran) and Muzzafared-Din Shah's
coronation ceremonies.7
By 1900, Ebrahim Khan Sahafbashi a nationalistic antique dealer, on the way back from
Europe bought an Edison Kinetoscope film projector and a number of films. He converted the
backyard of his antique shop into an open air movie house; the first movie theater in Iran
came into being in 1905. The customers were mostly members of upper class families or
royalty.
Khan Baba Motazedi, an Iranian electromechanical engineering student, brought home from
Paris a 35 mm Gaumont camera, some raw stock, film processing chemicals and projector. At
first he experimented with production of 'entertainment films' for private viewing featuring
his family members and friends. Later, by order of the Minister of War, he became involved

in filming the various ceremonies at the court of Reza Shah, the father of the last Shah of
Iran.
1906 in Iran was the year of constitutional revolution, but the establishment of parliamentary
democracy did not take place until 1911. Nonetheless the era of democracy did not last long.
In 1921, the British government by supporting Reza Khan (later he called himself Reza Shah
and established the Pahlavi dynasty) and staging a coup d'etat, overthrew Ahmad Shah, the
last member of Qajar dynasty.
Considering that Reza Shah was one of the more progressive monarchs in the recent history
of Iran, and since he was fascinated by the means of modernization, it is odd that he could not
conceive the role and the importance of the motion picture industry in society. While he
patronized the arts, revived ancient arts and crafts, preserving them from extinction, and even
encouraged the modern arts, his efforts toward cinema were very small. Besides a few
documentary films which were made to record the royal ceremonies and a few newsreels of
the events, the rest of the film which were exhibited in theaters were imported from Europe,
the United States, and Russia.
The first feature length movie, ABI AND RABI was not made until 1930, when Ovans
Ohanian, a young Iranian-American, emigrated back to Iran from Russia where he had spent
most of his life and had studied cinema at The Cinema Academy of Moscow. From the very
beginning he realized that making movies without a professional cast and crew is something
next to impossible. He established a foundation for a film industry-an acting school to train
actors and actresses to be used in films. Since the general attitude of the people was that
cinema could not develop into an art form and/or a profession, Parvareshghahe Artistiye
Cinema (The Cinema Artist Education center) attracted only sixteen students and two
instructors, Ohanian and Sa'id Nafici.
Ohanian, with the help of Motazedi as cinematographer; Sako Elidzeh, producer; two of his
students, Zarrabi and Sohrabi as leading actors, wrote and directed the first Persian silent
feature movie. ABI AND RABI, a 35 mm, black and white, comedy is the story of the
adventures of two men, one tall and one short, and based on a Danish comedy series. It was
shown in 1930 in Cinema Mayak, where it was well received. However, no copy of this film
is known to exist.
The success of this film at the box office encouraged Ohanian and his crew to produce
another comedy entitled HAJI AGHA (1932, the story of a religious man's daughter and her
fiance who want to act in a film.
If Ohanian's contribution to Iranian cinema has been considered great, the trend he left behind
was not harmless. Imitation of foreign films of mostly comedy and melodrama genres and
almost total displacement of any realism in later films were the results of his early influence.
At the time Iran was in an awakening stage, when the society was in desperate need of social
consciousness and a modern understanding of life, and at a time when the formation of its
modern economy was taking place. Entertainment in general and entertainment and escapist
film in particular was the last thing that Iran needed at that time for progressive social
growth. Spending hours in a movie theater and watching nonsense melodrama, HollywoodStyle and accomplishing nothing, was a luxury that Iranians could not afford.

A student of The Cinema Artist Educational Center in Tehran, Ebrahim Moradi, a 'born and
bred' Iranian, began the second feature film. But a series of obstacles, including lack of
adequate technical equipment and trained motion picture personnel, government restrictions
on importation of cinema equipment, and lack of proper production funds prevented the film
from reaching completion. The unfinished THE BROTHER'S REVENGE (1932), a black and
white, 35 mm, silent, forty-five minutes in length was written, directed, and photographed by
Moradi himself. This unsatisfactory experience motivated Moradi to establish the third
Iranian film studio, Iran Film Company, Limited. The first production of this studio was
SENSUAL (1934), a critical comparison between the pitfalls of city dwelling and the simple
and unspoiled way of life in the villagea comparison of the change in social values in the
cities because of westernization of Iran with the traditional way of life in the villages. From
about 1925, the challenge of modernization of the big city against the simplicity and purity of
the traditional way of life in Iranian society became a theme upon which to build stories that
were popular with cinema-goers and safe from governmental censorship.
The first Iranian "talkie" entitled THE LOR GIRL was released (1933) in two Tehran
cinemas, Mayak and Sepah. The story of the film was based on a comparison between the
state of security in Iran at the end of the Qajar dynasty and during Reza Shah's period. The
star and script writer was a poet and a writer, Abdulhossein Sepanta who has been
acknowledged as the father of Iranian sound movies.8
This was a period of mostly newsreels. Some of the subjects were the arrival of Reza Shah at
the National Constituent Assembly (December 15, 1925), horse races, and Army parades.
Also, opening ceremonies of the trans-Iranian railway system, the Pahlavi communication
center, the Bank Melli Iran (National Bank of Iran), and the opening of the installations of the
Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Khuzestan were typical topics. All of these newsreels were
shot, processed and printed by Khan Baba Motazedi. Some of these newsreels were shown at
the Royal Court but most were shown in the army compounds as well as in the theaters.
There were fifteen theaters at this time and all were located in the northern avenues of
Tehran, Iran's capital, where most of their customers were upper class people. Later, with
financial aid from the government and with the supervision of Motazedi, the first movie
theater was built in the southern part of Tehran where the poor lived. It is called Tammadon
and is still operating.9
Following Reza Shah's coronation in 1926, the most controversial period of the contemporary
history in Iran began. Those with a leftist point of view, as well as those with a religious point
of view were antagonistic to Reza Shah's regime. Those with a more 'moderate' view
criticized lack of freedoms, yet they applaud Reza Shah's modernization of Iran.
Overall social and political conditions at this period militated against the growth of the
motion picture industry and audience size. For years, the Moslem clergy prejudiced the vast
majority of people against anything new. There was social pressure against the showing of
films and the establishment of movie theaters. Women were not allowed to go to movie
theaters (later one theater created by Ali Vakili in the Zoroastrian school hall in Tehran was
devoted to showing films to women only).
The shooting of THE LOR GIRL started in April 1932, took seven months to complete, in a
place called Ghamoor on the outskirts of the city of Bombay, India. The financial success of

the film encouraged The Imperial Film Company of Bombay and Sepanta to produce other
Iranian films, in India, such as, FERDOWSI (1935), the story of life of the most celebrated
epic poet of Iran; SHIRIN AND FARHAD (1935), an Iranian classic love story which is
believed to be partly true, takes place during the reign of the Sassanian king, Khosrow I,
known as Anushirvan, "The Just" (531-579); BLACK EYES (1935), the story of Nader
Shah's invasion of India in 1737, and the effects of the invasion on the relationship of two
lovers; and LAILI AND MAJNUN (1937), an eastern love story similar to western story of
ROMEO AND JULIET. Upon the completion of the last film, Sepanta returned to Iran,
hoping to continue his film-making activities in his home country. But various obstructions
and lack of financial support by the government or the private sector, forced him to part with
cinema. He started the Sepanta newspaper in 1943 in Esfahan (a central city of Iran), and by
the mid-1950's he became the Iranian assistant of the United States Aid program in Esfahan.
Throughout his life (1907 Tehran-1969 Esfahan) he wrote or translated eighteen books and
made five Iranian feature films which for many years will be remembered because of their
themes, quality, and technique. With Sepanta's departure from cinema, the production of
Iranian sound movies in India came to an end and no feature films were made in Iran until
1947, when the new Iranian film industry was founded by Esmail Koushan. Koushan was
hardly a sincere artist, but rather seemed more interested in the commercial exploitation of
cinema.
Experimentation and New Film Industry (1938-1965)
As World War Two ended, the film industry in Iran took a new form. A group of new filmmakers experimented with news reels and documentaries and the Iranian and United States
governments as well as other organizations in Iran sponsored their efforts. Also, a number of
technicians, cinema enthusiasts, and financiers found dubbing of foreign films into Persian
(Farsi) an easy and profitable job. The private sector which came to existence after
occupation of Iran by the armies of the three big powers (USA, USSR, and England). As
American troops entered Iran in October 1941, they used the cross-country railway as well as
main roads to send military hardware to Russia-"The Bridge of Victory". This act, beside
many undesirable side-effects for Iranians, created many new jobs, improving the economic
condition of a certain segment of the population. As a result, new entertainment centers were
opened, and cinemas became more popular. And since dubbing foreign films into Farsi was
increasing the number of cinema-goers, all indications were that producing films in the
Iranian language (Farsi) would be a successful business to undertake.
From 1937 till 1947 because of the world economic conditions and then the involvement in
World War Two, the motion picture industry in Iran did not produce a single film, but the
flow of foreign film to Iran did not stop. In 1947, Esmail Koushan, a young Iranian who had
received film training in Germany at Universum Film Aktienge-Sellschafe (UFA) returned to
Iran. While in Turkey, he had dubbed two foreign films into Farsi, ARCHIN MAL ALAN, a
Russian film and THE FIRST RENDEZVOUS, a French film. With the help of some of his
colleagues, he established Mitra Films (1947), the first real film company in Tehran, Iran.
Through their persistence, local feature film production was born and survived.
The first Mitra Film company production was TUMULTUOUS LIFE (1948), a black and
white, 35 mm film which is a critical drama about the pitfalls of arranged marriages, a
common practice in Iran. The film was released in Tehran in April 1948, but because it did

not have the glamor of Hollywood films the audience was use to, it did poorly at the box
office.
Despite the box office failure of the film, Koushan insisted that the company produce another
film. Finally he managed to convince his associates to produce his second film, THE
PRISONER OF THE PRINCE (1948), a story adopted from "A Thousand and One Nights"
folk-tales. This film also did not bring an immediate financial success and Mitra Film closed
down. But Koushan continued his efforts and established a new production company in 1949,
Pars Film Studio, which developed into the most active studio in Iran, producing cheap
formula feature films for the local market. Koushan has been named "the father of the Iranian
film industry" by Georges Sadoul.
After Koushan's Pars Film Studio, many film production companies were formed, and many
films produced. The great majority of these films were modeled on silent film genres,
melodramas, situation comedies and adventure films. If film-makers produced higher quality
films they were blocked from distribution for two reasons, the low expectation and escapist
needs of a relatively unsophisticated audience and strict censorship.
The first attempt to challenge the Iranian film industry to produce higher quality films which
reflected the social conditions of the time, was in 1958 by Farrokh Gafary, a French-educated
film-maker, who studied cinema at Cinematheque Francaise. His first film was SOUTH OF
THE TOWN (1958), a take-off of Vittoria Desica's UMBERTO D (1952), but a purely
Persian expression of neorealism concerning the poverty-stricken life of the southern district
of Tehran. It is a description of the psychological values of the pop culture in its sociological
setting. Gafary's intention was to make a kind of "film d'sutre" film with a social comment on
the poor district of Tehran. The film was not successful even in poor sections of the country,
because the movie-goers were accustomed to seeing movies as a means of entertainment or
escape from reality vs. social comment. Subsequently, Gafary made a crime drama, THE
NIGHT OF THE HUNCHBACK (1964). At the same time another pioneering Iranian writercum-film-maker, Ebrahim Golestan, made ADOBE AND MIRROR (1963), a dramatic film.
Both films were met with public apathy and were subjected to censorship.
During the (1938-1965) period, the Iranian film industry's main productions were purely
entertaining or escapist. Also at this time, the film and television markets were monopolized
through an explosion of investment by foreign countries, particularly the United States. Erik
Barnouw's comment in The Image Empire expresses this point to some extent:
Some of the companies marketing television films also sold receivers and transmitters; some
sold consultant services, some invested in foreign stations, production companies, dubbing
services, animation studios, and theatres.
In the decade of 1966-1976 of film-making in Iran, various factors provided the production of
a large number of feature, documentary, and animated films as well the entrance of many
young film-makers into the arena of film-making with fresh, new perceptions and
approaches. Some of these factors are the establishment of film schools; National Iranian
Television (NIT) in 1969, National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT) 1972; numerous film
festivals; film clubs, such as Kanun Film, Farabi Film Club, the Cinematheque of the Tehran
Museum of Contemporary Arts and various film clubs at the universities; film production
companies with government assistance, such as Tel Film, Film Industry Development

Company of Iran (FIDCI), and the New Film Group; the emergence of foreign trained Iranian
film-makers as a collective force which abandoned the traditional film formula, characters
and situations; and a new generation of socially conscious writers.

The school of Television and Cinema was established in Tehran in 1969. It was fully financed
and supported by the government of Iran through the NIRT (National Iranian Radio and
Television). After passing the entrance exam, the students went through a technical training
period of two years along with their regular courses of study which related one way or
another to film-making. All expenses were paid by the government. Included were the use of
film equipment, raw stock, processing, animation materials, and the student's housing and
board costs, plus a stipend of about $300 a month. In return, students were required to work
for the government after their graduation for a period of five years as a camera-person,
soundperson etc., usually at NIRT in Tehran or its branches in the other cities.
Trying to Islamize Art
The three phases of the relationship between cinema and the state correspond to sociopolitical phases of the Islamic Republic. The first phase, now referred to as the First
Republic, lasted for a decade, beginning with the creation of the Islamic state. "Liberals" and
"moderates" confronted "radicals" and "militants"; the latter, supported by Ayatollah
Khomeini, won the struggle to control the post-revolutionary state, and excluded the former
from power. This first phase, dominated by the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), saw the ascendance
and almost undisputed power of feqh-based Islam and the suppression of reformist and
modernist visions of Islam. Attempting to bring culture and art under its control, the regime
created the Committee for Cultural Revolution. The Ministry of Culture and Art became the
Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (MCIG), with a mandate to Islamize all kinds of art
and cultural activities.
Through its various organizations, the regime promoted the creation of a distinctively Islamic
cinema in the early 1980s. In those years no quality film was produced, and women and love
were almost totally absent from the screen, though women were present behind the camera,
even working as directors. In the absence of women, love and human emotions could be
channeled through children, so stories based on children dominated the screen. In the mid1980s, the grip of feqh-based ideology gradually loosened, and a period of qualitative growth
started. Iranian cinema started to attract international attention once again.
Toward the end of the first phase, Islamic intellectuals and artists such as Abdolkarim
Soroush and Mohsen Makhmalbaf -- disillusioned with the policies of the Islamic Republic -began to voice objections to the regime's feqh-based Islam. There are parallels between the
emergent "new religious thinking" of Soroush and the new cinema associated with
Makhmalbaf. For Soroush, religion is "bigger than ideology." For Makhmalbaf, the same is
true of art: art can free an artist and it cannot be contained in a strait jacket of ideology.

Latin-American Cinema:
Moving pictures arrived in Latin America soon after the Lumire Brothers created their first
projection in December 1895. Pioneer cameramen arrived relatively early to the fast-growing

Latin American cities of the time. Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro saw their
first film screenings in 1896, and most other Latin American cities soon after. By the 1910s
all countries were making films locally, but only Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil would
eventually develop large film industries. While few studies exist on the early history of Latin
American cinema as a whole, all works dealing with the individual national film histories
touch upon the subject. By the 1940s, Mexican and Argentinean films were being distributed
throughout Spanish America, with the ones from Mexico in particular developing an
enthusiastic following. The Brazilian film industry also developed its own audience. These
national film industries declined in the 1950s, mainly as a result of the strong international
expansion of Hollywood-based studios. The 1960s marked the emergence of the influential
New Latin American Cinema. Defined as a movement by a 1967 filmmakers conference held
in Via del Mar, Chile, it encompassed the work of young directors whose work was
experimental, low budget, and socially engaged. Directors associated with Brazilian Cinema
Novo, such as Glauber Rocha and Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and those who participated in
the resurgence of filmmaking in Cuba after the revolution, like Tomas Gutirrez Alea and
Santiago lvarez, were part of this group. There is a large amount of literature on this
movement, whose influence continued throughout the 1970s. The economic crises of the
1980s had a negative impact in the production of movies. In the 1990s reforms in film
legislation led to a dramatic decrease in state sponsorship. The result, paradoxically, was the
development of alternative forms of filmmaking and the initiation of new outstanding film
movements, like the New Argentine Cinema, including directors Lucrecia Martel and Adrin
Caetano, among others. In Mxico filmmakers like Alejandro Gonzlez Iarritu and Alfonso
Cuarn revitalized the national film industry and also achieved success abroad. Since the
mid-1990s film production in Latin America has been revitalized by transnational
coproduction agreementslike Ibermediaand the creation of new state legislation aimed at
promoting filmmaking in each country. Many recent books study this new trend in Latin
American film, reflecting on its links to globalization and its cultural significance for the
region.
General Overviews
Most books on Latin American film focus on a particular era, topic, or national context. One
reason for this tendency is the existence of clear dissimilarities between conditions for the
production of films in the various Latin American countries and during different historical
periods. Even those books that offer a panoramic view tend to do so by devoting separate
chapters to filmmaking in a particular country or time frame, often through the analysis of
individual films that are representative of the specific situation in each context (Galiano and
Caballero 1999 and Elena and Diaz Lpez 2003, both cited under Edited Collections; Hart
2004, Rufinelli 2010). Among those authors who opt for a general view, Paranagu
2003 offers what is arguably the most wide-ranging reflection on trends and processes in the
continent, across nations and periods. Earlier historical surveys of Latin American cinema,
such as King 1990 and Schumann 1987, were descriptive in nature, without a deep emphasis
on the conditions and evolution of filmmaking in each particular country, or the transnational
trends in the continent. Several overviews opt for including contributions by various authors,
each specializing in a particular country or era, unified by an introduction or prologue
(see Edited Collections). While these compilations are eclectic, with chapters reflecting the
individual expertise of each contributor, they provide a good general sense of various aspects

of filmmaking in Latin America, including its links to other forms of cultural production, and
how the industry has historically been affected by socioeconomic conditions in each
historical period. Books published since the early 2000s show a greater emphasis on
transnationalism than their predecessors, due in part to the importance gained by
coproductions and international cooperation agreements since that time.
East-Asian Cinema:
East Asian cinema is cinema produced in East Asia or produced by people from this region. It
is part of Asian cinema, which in turn is part of world cinema. World cinema is used in the
English-speaking world to refer to all foreign language films.
The most significant film industries categorizable as East Asian cinema are the industries
of China, Hong
Kong and
Japan, Taiwan and South
Korea.
Other
countries
include Mongolia, Vietnam, Singapore, North Korea and Macau. The largest markets in East
Asia are China, Japan and South Korea.
The terms 'Far Eastern cinema', 'Asian cinema', 'Eastern cinema' or 'Oriental cinema' are
sometimes used synonymously with East Asian cinema, particularly in the United States,
although their broader scope means that Asian cinema could equally well apply to the movies
produced in other parts of Asia, particularly the cinema of India including the
enormous Bollywood film industry.
1950s: Global influence
East Asian cinema has - to widely varying degrees nationally - had a global audience since at
least the 1950s. At the beginning of the decade, Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon and Kenji
Mizoguchi's Ugetsu both captured prizes at the Venice Film Festival and elsewhere, and by
the middle of the decade Teinosuke Kinugasa's Gate of Hell and the first part of Hiroshi
Inagaki's Samurai Trilogy had won Oscars. Kurosawa's Seven Samurai became a global
success; Japanese cinema had burst into international consciousness.
By the end of the decade, several critics associated with French journal Cahiers du
cinma published some of the first Western studies on Japanese film; many of those critics
went on to become founding members of the French nouvelle vague, which began
simultaneously with the Japanese New Wave.
1960s and 1970s
However, by the late 60s and early 70s, Japanese cinema had begun to become seriously
affected by the collapse of the studio system. As Japanese cinema slipped into a period of
relative low visibility, the cinema of Hong Kong entered a dramatic renaissance of its own,
largely a side effect of the development of the wuxia blending of action, history, and spiritual
concerns. Several major figures emerged in Hong Kong at this time - perhaps most
famously, King Hu, whos 1966 Come Drink with Mewas a key influence upon many
subsequent Hong Kong cinematic developments. Shortly thereafter, the American-born Bruce
Lee became a global icon.

1980s to the present


During the 1980s, Japanese cinema - aided by the rise of independent filmmaking and the
spectacular success of anime - began to make something of an international comeback.
Simultaneously, a new post-Mao Zedong generation of Chinese filmmakers began to gain
global attention. Another group of filmmakers, centered on Edward Yang and Hou Hsiaohsien launched what has become known as the "Taiwanese New Wave".
With the post-1980 rise in popularity of East Asian cinema in the West, Western audiences are
again becoming familiar with many of the industry's filmmakers and stars. A number of these
key players, such as Chow Yun-fat and Zhang Ziyi have "crossed over", working in Western
films. Others have gained exposure through the international success of their films, though
many more retain more of a "cult" appeal, finding a degree of Western success through DVD
sales rather than cinema releases.

Origin, Growth and Development of Indian Cinema:


The history of Indian Cinema goes back to the nineteenth century. In 1896, the very first
films shot by the Lumiere Brothers were shown in Mumbai (then Bombay).
But history was actually created when Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar popularly
known as Save Dada, the still photographer, was so much influenced by the Lumiere
Brothers production that he ordered a camera from England. His first film was shot at the
Hanging Gardens in Mumbai, known as The Wrestlers. It was a simple recording of a
wrestling match which was screened in 1899 and is considered as the first motion picture in
the Indian Film Industry.
Beginning of Bollywood
Father of Indian Cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke released the first ever full-length feature film
Raja Harishchandra in 1913. The silent film was a commercial success. Dadasaheb was not
only the producer but was also the director, writer, cameraman, editor, make-up artist and art
director. Raja Harischandra was the first-ever Indian film which was screened in London in
1914. Though Indian Cinemas first mogul, Dadasaheb Phalke supervised and managed the
production of twenty three films from 1913 to 1918, the initial growth of the Indian Film
Industry was not as fast as that of Hollywood.
Numerous new production companies emerged in the early 1920s. Films based on
mythological and historical facts and episodes from Mahabharata and Ramayana dominated
the 20s but Indian audiences also welcomed Hollywood movies, especially the action films.
Beginning of the Talkies
The first ever talkie Alam Ara by Ardeshir Irani was screened in Bombay in 1931. It was the
first sound film in India. The release of Alam Ara started a new era in the history of Indian
Cinema. Phiroz Shah was the first music director of Alam Ara. The first song which was
recorded for Alam Ara in 1931 was De de khuda ke naam par. It was sung by W.M. Khan.

Thereafter, several production companies emerged leading to an increase in the release of the
number of films. 328 films were made in 1931 as compared to 108 in 1927. During this time,
huge movie halls were built and there was a significant growth in the number of audiences.
During the 1930s and 1940s many eminent film personalities such as Debaki Bose, Chetan
Anand, S.S. Vasan, Nitin Bose and many others emerged on the scene.
Growth of Regional Films
Not only did the country witness the growth of Hindi Cinema, but the regional film industry
also made its own mark. The first Bengali feature film Nal Damyanti in 1917 was produced
by J.F. Madan with Italian actors in the leading roles. It was photographed by Jyotish Sarkar.
The year 1919 saw the screening of the first silent South Indian feature film named
Keechaka Vadham. The movie was made by R. Nataraja Mudaliar of Madras (Chennai).
Dadasaheb Phalkes daughter Manadakini was the first female child star who acted as the
child Krishna in Phalkes Kaliya Mardan in 1919.
The first ever talkie film in Bengali was Jamai Shashthi, which was screened in 1931 and
produced by Madan Theatres Ltd. Kalidass was the first Tamil talkie which was released in
Madras on 31 October 1931 and directed by H.M. Reddy. Apart from Bengali and South
Indian languages, regional films were also made in other languages such as Assamese, Oriya,
Punjabi, Marathi, and many more.
Ayodhecha Raja was the first Marathi film which was directed by V. Shantaram in 1932.
This film was made in double version. Ayodhya ka Raja in Hindi and Ayodhecha Raja in
Marathi was the first ever Indian talkie produced by Prabhat Film Company in 1932.
Birth of a New Era
The number of films being produced saw a brief decline during the World War II. Basically
the birth of modern Indian Film industry took place around 1947. The period witnessed a
remarkable and outstanding transformation of the film industry. Notable filmmakers like
Satyajit Ray, and Bimal Roy made movies which focused on the survival and daily miseries
of the lower class. The historical and mythological subjects took a back seat and the films
with social messages began to dominate the industry. These films were based on themes such
as prostitution, dowry, polygamy and other malpractices which were prevalent in our society.
In the 1960s new directors like Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, and others focused on the real
problems of the common man. They directed some outstanding movies which enabled the
Indian film industry to carve a niche in the International film scenario.
The 1950s and 1960s are considered to be the golden age in the history of the Indian cinema
and saw the rise of some memorable actors like Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Meena
Kumari, Madhubala, Nargis, Nutan, Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, among others.
This article will be incomplete if the contribution of music in Indian cinema is not mentioned.
Songs are an integral part of Indian movies. Presence of songs has given Indian films a
distinctive look as compared to international films. The Indian film industry has produced
many talented lyricists, music directors and artists.
Bollywood The Pioneer of Masala Movies

The 1970s saw the advent of Masala movies in Bollywood. The audiences were captivated
and mesmerised by the aura of actors like Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar,
Hema Malini, and many others.
The most prominent and successful director, Manmohan Desai was considered by several
people as the father of Masala movies. According to Manmohan Desai, I want people to
forget their misery. I want to take them into a dream world where there is no poverty, where
there are no beggars, where fate is kind and god is busy looking after its flock.
Sholay, the groundbreaking film directed by Ramesh Sippy, not only got international
accolades but also made Amitabh Bachchan a Superstar.
Several women directors like Meera Nair, Aparna Sen and others showcased their talents in
the 1980s. How can we forget the extraordinary and splendid performance of Rekha in the
film Umrao Jaan in 1981?
The 1990s saw a whole new batch of actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Madhuri
Dixit, Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, Chiranjivi, and many more. This new genre of actors used
new techniques to enhance their performances which further elevated and upgraded the
Indian Film Industry. 2008 was a notable year for the Indian film industry as A.R. Rahman
received two academy awards for best soundtrack for Slumdog Millionaire.
Indian cinema is no longer restricted to India and is now being well appreciated by
international audiences. The contribution of the overseas market in Bollywood box office
collections is quite remarkable. Around 30 film production companies were listed in National
Stock Exchange of India in 2013. The multiplexes too have boomed in India due to tax
incentives.
Indian cinema has become a part and parcel of our daily life whether it is a regional or a
Bollywood movie. It has a major role to play in our society. Though entertainment is the key
word of Indian cinema it has far more responsibility as it impacts the mind of the audiences.