The Oxford History of World Cinema

By Geoffrey Nowell-Smith | Go to book overview

Khudonazarov became the first secretary of the Union of Soviet Film-Makers in 1990. These years of political disturbances were marked by intense upheavals in the cinema of all the republics. Until 1991, the situation seemed to favour national productions. Federal censorship had all but disappeared while state budgets allotted to the cinema by Moscow had been renewed and added to by the first private backing. In many studios, the number of films made beat all previous records and there was also an emergence of independent producers, either co-operatives or private, and often headed by renowned film-makers: Kelechek (Tolomush Okeyev), Salamalekfilm (Bolot Shamchiev), + 1 (Rezo Esadze), Samarkandfilm (Ali Khamrayev), etc.

The loosening of censorship and the lifting of taboos encouraged the rise of a new generation of directors who broadened approaches in the different studios. One of the first genres to benefit from this opening was the documentary, which could at last tackle subjects that had for a long time been banned. One of the best examples is the Armenian documentary school led by Ruben Gevorkiants at the Haik studios ( Islands, 1984; Requiem, 1989) and by Harutiun Khachatrian ( Kond, 1987; The White Town, 1988). Notable young film-makers from this generation are the Georgian Zaza Khalvashi ( There, with Us, 1990), the Uzbeks Djakhongir Faiziev ( Kiadia, 1988; Who Are You?, 1989) and Zulfikar Musakov ( History of a Soldier, 1989), or the Tadjik Bako Sadykov ( Blest Bukhara, 1992). In Kazakhstan the arrival of a group of young film-makers was a definite new wave, imposing a stylistic break with noir films influenced by the new German and American film-makers Fassbinder, Wenders, and Jarmusch: Rashid Nugmanov ( The Needle, 1988), Serik Aprymov ( Terminus, 1989), A. Baranov and B. Kilibaev ( Trio, 1989), and others.

But alongside these innovations, increasing commercial pressures on the cinema led to a pursuit of fashionable themes. Each republic produced its own films about the gulags, the Mafia, drugs, and delinquency. For the few films of interest such as The Stain by the Georgian A. Tsabadze ( 1985) and The Bastard by the Azerbaijani Vagif Mustafayev ( 1989) there are numerous worthless films which have contributed to the public's growing disillusionment with national cinema.

Since 1991, independence for the republics has created a completely new situation full of uncertainty. While western films and videos of all kinds, usually pirated, flood across the screens, national productions are in a period of crisis: national authorities baulk at the prospect of renewing financial backing to studios they believe ought to be self-funding. The film-makers hit back by showing that this would be the death of all creative national films. Certain states ( Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan) have agreed to finance some films, but the emphasis has been put on co-productions in the hope that this will finance the re-equipping of studios. However, the increase in armed conflicts and the economic crisis have reinforced instability and it is to be feared that, in the republics, the blossoming of national cinema may shortly be no more than a memory, one that is, paradoxically, linked to the Soviet experiment.


Passek, Jean-Loup (ed.) ( 1981), Le Cinéma russe et soviétique.

Radvanyi, Jean (ed.) ( 1988), Le Cinema géorgien.

---- ( 1991), Le Cinéma d'Asie centrale soviétique.

---- ( 1993), Le Cinéma arménien.

Turkish Cinema


Cinema arrived in Ottoman Turkey almost the same year as in the west. Pathé Frères' representative in Turkey, the Romanian Sigmund Weinberg, conducted the first film screening in early 1897 at the Restaurant Sponeck in Beyoglu, the cosmopolitan district of Istanbul. Within a few years, film screenings had spread to all the major cities of the Ottoman Empire.

The first film productions in Ottoman Turkey were documentaries made by foreign cameramen. It was not until 1914 that a film made by a Turk was completed: The Demolition of the Russian Monument at St. Stephan, a documentary made by Fuat Uzkinay, an officer in the Ottoman army.

Early productions by Turkish film-makers followed this pattern, being documentaries produced for the Army Film Centre (AFC), which had been formed in 1915 by Enver Pasha, the General Commander of the Ottoman Army and the Minister of War. The first Turkish feature film was not produced until almost twenty years after the first film screening. Weinberg began to shoot The Marriage of Himmet A≥a in 1916, again for the AFC, but it was not completed until after the First World War. The first feature films to be completed were produced by the National Defence Association; The Claw ( 1917) and The Spy ( 1917), both directed by a young journalist, Sedat Simavi.


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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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