The Oxford History of World Cinema

By Geoffrey Nowell-Smith | Go to book overview

also produced feature films and became the focus for the project to nationalize film production in 1964. By 1969 the Office National pour le Commerce et l'Industrie Cinématographique (ONCIC) had acquired a monopoly of importation and distribution as well as production.

Because of this state control, there is a remarkable homogeneity about early Algerian production. The first wave of films produced reflected the liberation struggle: the compilation film Fajr al-mu'adhdhibin ( The Dawn of the Damned, 1965) by Ahmed Rachedi, and the fictionalized account of the struggle Rih al-Awras ( The Wind from the Aures, 1966) by Mohamed Lakhdar Hamina. Both directors went on to reshape the narrative of liberation for a popular audience, Rachedi with Al-afyun wal-õasa ( The Opium and the Baton, 1969) and Lakhdar Hamina with December ( 1972) and, especially, his epic production Waga'i' sinin al-jamr ( Chronicle of the Years of Embers, 1975). In 1972 a series of films on rural reform was initiated, beginning with Al- fahham ( The Charcoal Burner), the first feature of Mohamed Bouamari. But already by the late 1970s more diverse individual voices came to be heard. Merzak Allouache made a number of highly distinctive features beginning with Omar Gatlato ( 1976), and Mahmoud Zemmouri later turned a cynical eye on the politics of revolution in The Mad Years of the Twist ( 1983). Assia Djebbar, a novelist turned film-maker, brought a particular feminine vision to filmmaking with The Nouba of the Women of Mont Chenoua ( 1978) and Zerda wa aghanial-nisyani ( The Zerda and the Songs of Forgetfulness, 1982). But by the mid-1980s the state monopoly had been broken up and even the pioneers offered idiosyncratic productions, among them Rachedi's Tahunat al-sayyid Fabre ( The Mill of M. Fabre, 1982) and Bouamari's Al- raft ( The Refusal, 1982).

In Tunisia the State had no such clear initial objectives as in Algeria, but there is a strong film culture, witnessed by the Arab film festival, the Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage, which has been held biennially in Tunis since 1968 and forms an important focus for Arab cinema. Output in Tunisia is largely the work of dedicated individualists, such as the self-taught Omar Khlifi who came to the fore with a number of action films in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Abdellatif Ben Ammar made a trio of distinctive features: Such a Simple Story ( 1970), Sejnane ( 1973), and Aziza ( 1980). Later Nouri Bouzid established a quite distinctive and controversial voice in Arab cinema with Rih al-sadd ( Man of Ashes, 1986), Safaith min dhahab ( Golden Horseshoes, 1989), and Beznes ( 1992), while the welt known critic Ferid Boughedir made an equally personal first fiction film, Halfaouine ( 1990).

Output in Morocco shows a similar mix. On the one hand those who seek commercial success, like Souhel Ben Barka who followed his excellent début film, Alf yad wa yad ( Thousand and One Hands, 1972), with less controlled co-productions such as his Garcïa Lorca adaptation Urs ad-dam ( Blood Wedding, 1977) and a confused view of South African politics, Amok ( 1982). On the other hand. Moumen Smihi has been consistently concerned with the expression of a specifically Moroccan reality and with formal innovation in El chergui ( 1975), Forty-four, or Bedtime Stories ( 1982), and Quftan al-hubb ( Caftan of Love, 1988) Equally innovative have been the exploratory works of Hamid Benani -- Wechma ( Traces, 1970) -- and Ahmed Bou anani -- Le Mirage ( 1980).

In general the cinema of the Maghreb countries is not a popular cinema on the Egyptian model, and Maghrebi films receive more showings at foreign festivals than in local cinemas. Nevertheless they are evidence of the con tinuing vitality and variety of Arab cinema.


Berrah, Mouny, Lévy, Jacques, and Cluny, Claude-Michel (eds.) ( 1987), Les Cinémas arabes.

Cinema dei paesi arabi ( 1976), 'Pesaro: Mostra internazionale del nuovo cinema'.

Malkmus, Lizbeth, and Armes, Roy ( 1991), Arab and African Film Making.

The Cinemas of Sub-Saharan Africa


Cinema as a form of entertainment has been in existence in Africa for over eighty-five years. The first films to be shown were documentaries originating from Europe and America. These were subsequently supplemented by films produced by the infamous Colonial Film Units and such short-lived projects such as the 'Bantu Cinema Film Projects'.

These colonial structures for cinema production and distribution have been criticized for their role in enhaning the forceful imposition of western ways, and the systematic dismantling of indigenous African cultures and traditions. Although a handful of their productions promoted modernization in a way sympathetic to African interests, the overall role of the Colonial Film Unite has been aptly summed up by African film historian Manthia Diawara ( 1992) in negative terms. The CFUs, he writes


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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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