The Oxford History of World Cinema

By Geoffrey Nowell-Smith | Go to book overview

who most deserves consideration in the generally depressing panorama of Italian cinema of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Born in 1945, Amelio began his career working for RAI television in the 1970s. As a feature film director he came to public attention with Colpire al cuore ('To strike at the heart', 1982), one of the few and one of the best Italian films on the theme of terrorism. Porte aperte ('Open doors', 1990) dealt with the problems of justice in Sicily, but it was with Il ladro di bambini ('Child snatcher', 1992) that Amelio managed to adjust his refined and almost aristocratic idea of cinema to the needs of an emotional and painful story poised between sentiment and social concern and thereby to score a significant popular success.

At the end of 1992, at the instigation of the Turin International Youth Festival of Cinema, a survey of critics, journalists, and scholars was set up to identify 'five young directors for the year 2000'. Of the five winners to emerge, two -- Bruno Bigoni and Silvio Soldini -- live and work in Milan; a third, Daniel Segre, is based in Turin; and a fourth, the highly rated young theatre director Mario Martone whose first film was Morte di un matematico napoletano ('Death of a Neapolitan mathematician', 1992), works in Naples. Only the Venetian Carlo Mazzacurati, who has directed three films, lives in Rome, the traditional home of the greater part of the film world. It may be that the rebirth of Italian cinema will come from precisely such a shift away from Rome and towards the decentralized variety with which it began.


Bondanella, Peter ( 1990), Italian Cinema: from neorealism to the present.

Brunetta, Gian Piero ( 1982), Storia del cinema italiano. Vol 11. Dal 1945 agli anni ottanta.

---- ( 1991), Cent'anni di cinema italiano.

Faldini, Franca, and Fofi, Goffredo ( 1981), L'avventurosa storia del cinema italiano raccontato dai suoi protagonisti, 1960-1969.

---- ( 1984), Il cinema italiano di oggi, 1970-1984: raccontato dai suoi protagonisti.

Spain After Franco


Just as the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9 has frequently been called a rehearsal for the Second World War, so Spain's surprisingly rapid transition from Francoism to democracy can be seen as prefiguring the sudden collapse of the Cold War paradigm which followed in 1945. Spanish cinema played an important role in figuring Spain's move to democracy, not only after Franco's death in 1975, but in the years preceding it. From the 1950s onwards a hermetically sealed Spain began to be opened to foreign influence and a new Spanish cinema emerged on the world scene.


According to historian Stanley Payne ( 1987-8), Spain underwent a three-stage process of defascistization, which began when Franco realized that Hitler and Mussolini would lose the Second World War; was accelerated at the height of the Cold War ( 1945-57) when Spain began moving toward the new European democracies whose resurgence was partially financed by the US Marshall Plan; and was formalized in the 1960s through a policy of aperturispio ('opening up') that was actively promoted by Franco's new Minister of Information and Tourism, Manuel Fraga Iribarne. This drive toward liberalization contained a double irony. First, despite its overtures to ibreign investors, the Francoist regime continued to impose a monolithic culture at home. This contradiction provided a focal point for film-makers who wanted to create a cinema of opposition that could project a different image of Spain both at home and abroad. Yet equally ironically, these film-makers helped accomplish Franco's goals, especially when their films won prestigious awards at international festivals, demonstrating that a modernized Spain was now capable of generating (and tolerating) an articulate oppositional culture.

These contradictions were dramatized in Bienvenido, Mr Marshall! ('Welcome, Mr Marshall!', 1952), which was Spain's official entry at the Cannes Film Festival. This clever satire (co-written by Luis Berlanga and Juan Antonio Bardem) shows inhabitants of a small Castilian village competing with other Spaniards for their share of the Marshall Plan by dressing up as gypsies and matadors, complete with fake movie sets. This illusion evokes the espatiolada, a popular genre that promoted regional images of an exotic Andalusia as a cultural stereotype for all of Spain. The film exposes the dual address of every so-called 'national' cinema-a fictional unity imposed at home at the cost of cultural and regional difference in order to be successfully promoted abroad as a distinctive 'national' commodity. The villagers do have 'real' needs, the kind that were then being depicted in Italian neorealist films; yet they turn to Hollywood fantasies which get them only deeper in debt. In a series of humorous dreams, we see how they refigure their needs through foreign movie images they have internalized. The mayor dreams he is a sheriff in a saloon doing what cowboys


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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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