The Oxford History of World Cinema

By Geoffrey Nowell-Smith | Go to book overview

Deneuve, has really been a box-office draw in her own right.

The high quality of French cinema in the last three decades could not have been sustained without strong back-up from the other contributors to the film-making process: set designers Alexandre Trauner and Bernard tvein, cinematographers Henri Alekan, Raoul Coutard, Nestor Almendros, and Sacha Vierny, composers Georges Delerue and Philippe Sarde, script-writers Jean-Claude Carrière, Gérard Brach, and Jean-Pierre Rappeneau (also the director of two stylish films, La Vie de château, 1966, and Cyrano de Bergerac, 1987), and producers Anatole Dauman, Pierre Braunberger, Georges de Beauregard, Serge Silberman, Claude Berri (who also directed several wellcrafted films, including Jean de Florette and Manon des sources ( 1986), from the Pagnol novel, which, in their nostalgic depiction of life in Provence, struck a chord with audiences, and launched a vogue for nostalgia). This favourable creative environment, combined with the attractions of state aid and a liberal attitude to political exiles, prompted many major non-French directors to make films in France. They included Luis Bufiuel, Walerian Borowczyk, Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polanski, Chantal Akerman, Agnieszka Holland, and Raul Ruiz, among others.

France's lively film culture is reflected in the existence of many film magazines. At the 'serious' end of the market, Positif has remained true to its old principles, though it is now less militant, and attracts the same sort of readership as its bigeer-selling rival Cahiers du cinirna. The more popular Première and Studio Magazine have large circulations. The cinema is given wide coverage in other printed media and on radio and television. Paris offers a choice of films unparalleled anywhere in the world. Several commercial cinemas pursue a programming policy of one-off showings not very different from that of subsidized film theatres, of which there are three: the Cinémathèque Franqaise, the Pompidou Centre ( Salle Garance), and the Vidéothèque de Paris. As a result, over 350 different films are shown in any given week in Paris. France hosts over a dozen film festivals each year in addition to Cannes. The favourable cultural environment partly explains why attendances and the number of screens have decreased very slowly compared with the rest of Europe.

Since the momentum of interest in film will no doubt continue to be self-sustaining for some time, and since state subsidies and incentives have not been significantly eroded as a result of the change of government in 1993, the French cinema can expect to remain in relatively good health for the foreseeable future.


Armes, Roy ( 1985), French Cinema.

Browne, Nick (ed.) ( 1990), Cahiers du Cinema: 1969-1972: The Politics of Representation.

Forbes, Jill ( 1992), The Cinema in France after the New Wave.

Graham, Peter (ed.) ( 1968), The New Wave: Critical Landmarks.

Hayward, Susan ( 1993), French National Cinema.

---- and Vincendeau, Ginette (eds.) ( 1990), French Film: Texts and Contexts.

Hillier, Jim (ed.) ( 1985), Cahiers dii Cinéma: The 1960s.

Jeancolas, Jean-Pierre (1979), Le Cinema des Française Le Veme Réptiblique ( 1958-1978).

Italy: Auteurs and After


The year 1960 was a remarkable one for Italian cinema. For the first (and only) time since 1946 Italian films not only overtook Hollywood films in popularity in the domestic market but captured over 50 per cent of total boxoffice. Three films released that year- Luchino Visconti's Rocco and his Brothers ( Rocco e i suoi fratelli), Federico Fellini's La dolce vito ('The good life'), and Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura ('The adventure') -- also went on to be major successes abroad.

The trimnphs of 1960 had been prefigured in 1959, which was also a year of commercial revival and in which two Italian films -- Roberto Rossellini's Il Generale Della Rovere and Mario Monicelli's La grande guerra ('The Great War') -- shared the Golden Lion at the Venice festival. But there is no doubt that 1960 was the watershed, ushering in a period of generalized renewal of modes of expression in the cinema. While Rocco (and another great box-office success of that year, Luigi Comencini's Tutti a casa ('Everybody go home')), might be seen as throwbacks to earlier modes, L'avvemtira and La dolce vita definitively turned their backs on the past and prefigured the surge of dovelopments to come.

Although L'avventura was perhaps the more aestlictically innovative of the two, La dolce, vita, was historically the more important. It provided proof. if proof were needed. of the demise of neo-realism, and it was a crucial turning-


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The Oxford History of World Cinema
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Contents xi
  • Special Features xv
  • List of Colour Illustrations xvii
  • General Introduction xix
  • 1 - Silent Cinema 1895-1930 1
  • Origins and Survival 6
  • Early Cinema 13
  • Transitional Cinema 23
  • The Hollywood Studio System 43
  • The World-Wide Spread of Cinema 53
  • The First World War and the Crisis in Europe 62
  • Tricks and Animation 71
  • Comedy 78
  • Documentary 86
  • Cinema and the Avant-Garde 95
  • Serials 105
  • French Silent Cinema 112
  • Italy- Spectacle and Melodrama 123
  • British Cinema from Hepworth to Hitchcock 130
  • Germany- The Weimar Years 136
  • The Scandinavian Style 151
  • Pre-Revolutionary Russia 159
  • The Soviet Union and the Russian émigrés 162
  • Yiddish Cinema in Europe 174
  • Japan- Before the Great Kanto Earthquake 177
  • Music and the Silent Film 183
  • The Heyday of the Silents 192
  • 2 - Sound Cinema 1930-1960 205
  • The Introduction of Sound 211
  • Hollywood- The Triumph of the Studio System 220
  • Censorship and Self-Regulation 235
  • The Sound of Music 248
  • Technology and Innovation 259
  • Animation 267
  • Cinema and Genre 276
  • The Western 286
  • The Musical 294
  • Crime Movies 304
  • The Fantastic 312
  • Documentary 322
  • Socialism, Fascism, and Democracy 333
  • The Popular Art of French Cinema 344
  • Italy from Fascism to Neo-Realism 353
  • Britain at the End of Empire 361
  • Germany- Nazism and after 374
  • East Central Europe before the Second World War 383
  • Soviet Film under Stalin 389
  • Indian Cinema- Origins to Independence 398
  • China before 1949 409
  • The Classical Cinema in Japan 413
  • The Emergence of Australian Film 422
  • Cinema in Latin America 427
  • After the War 436
  • Transformation of the Hollywood System 443
  • Independents and Mavericks 451
  • 3 - The Modern Cinema 1960-1995 461
  • Television and the Film Industry 466
  • The New Hollywood 475
  • New Technologies 483
  • Sex and Sensation 490
  • The Black Presence in American Cinema 497
  • Exploitation and the Mainstream 509
  • Dreams and Nightmares in the Hollywood Blockbuster 516
  • Cinéma-Vérité and the New Documentary 527
  • Avant-Garde Film- The Second Wave 537
  • Animation in the Post-Industrial Era 551
  • Modern Film Music 558
  • Art Cinema 567
  • New Directions in French Cinema 576
  • Italy- Auteurs and after 586
  • Spain after Franco 596
  • British Cinema- The Search for Identity 604
  • The New German Cinema 614
  • East Germany- The Defa Story 627
  • Changing States in East Central Europe 632
  • Russia after the Thaw 640
  • Cinema in the Soviet Republics 651
  • Turkish Cinema 656
  • The Arab World 661
  • The Cinemas of Sub-Saharan Africa 667
  • Iranian Cinema 672
  • India- Filming the Nation 678
  • Indonesian Cinema 690
  • China after the Revolution 693
  • Popular Cinema in Hong Kong 704
  • Taiwanese New Cinema 711
  • The Modernization of Japanese Film 714
  • New Australian Cinema 722
  • New Zealand Cinema 731
  • Canadian Cinema/Cinéma Canadien 731
  • New Cinemas in Latin America 740
  • New Concepts of Cinema 750
  • The Resurgence of Cinema 759
  • Index 785
  • List of Picture Sources 823


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