The Oxford History of World Cinema

By Geoffrey Nowell-Smith | Go to book overview

these films examined the new international business world of Jakarta that evolved rapidly in the 1970s and the shady land deals that accompanied this expansion, basing their critique on the loss of the Betawi values of reciprocity; sometimes they spoofed the images of western popular culture.

Another innovation was the 'Dangdut' musical. Dangdut is a highly rhythmic Indonesian popular music that exploded as a mass-culture phenomenon in the 1970s. It had some similarities with rock, but was highly melodious, and had a long line of evolution through Melayu 'kroncong' music, subtly mixed with elements of Indian and Arab music. Developed jointly with Elvy Sukaesih, it was very consciously given a further Islamic dimension by Rhoma Irama, in an attempt to discover an 'Eastern' style. Irama was banned from television for ten years because he espoused certain Islamic positions antithetical to the state, but his films did very well at the box-office. The dramas played out in these films are often rudimentary but the power of their music made them extremely popular, particularly among the poor.

A third genre that developed during this period was the 'Queen of the Southern Ocean' genre, based on legends about Nyi Roro Kidul, the mythical queen exiled to the bottom of the Southern Ocean, and her daughter, Nyi Blorong, who had the power to prey on the living, sometimes for good, more often for bad. This genre was related to the 'Crocodile Queen' films, and both were Indonesian variants of the 'monstrous feminine' or the ambiguous or negative mother image. Clearly there were strong influences from the Indian cinema in these films, but the matriarchal elements present in Javanese society made the genre popular, as well as the strength of pre-Islamic Hindu Buddhist mythology in the popular imagination.

Other codified genre films also proved extremely popular during the 1970s and 1980s; the Indonesian martial arts film ( silat), the teenage film ( remaja), the popular Islamic history film, usually about the coming of Islam to Indonesia, the Hindu Buddhist history film, the stories from the colonial period, and the governmentfunded political history film. In the 1980s a westernized group, known as 'Warung Coffee', emerged to produce films which delighted audiences with their slapstick humour and jokes in Jakarta dialect.

In the 1990s the viability of the national film industry has been put into crisis by the large-scale introduction of commercial television. However, the people of Indonesia have a great interest in their national cinema, with major directors more respected and better known than their counterparts in the west. Debates about film culture that in many western countries are limited to specialists are conducted openly in the daily press in Indonesia. The country has a National Film Council, a film school at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts (where students are taught by practitioners), and a film archive, Sinematek Indonesia. The National Film Council is a quasi-autonomous consultative body made up of artists, administrators, and businessmen, which has done much to raise the profile of the film industry. While censorship has restricted the range of issues that can be openly discussed in Indonesia, film culture has been used by artists to focus issues of national significance which might not otherwise have been raised.


Ardan, S. M. ( 1992), Dari gambar idoep ke sinepleks ('From early actualities to the multiplex cinemas').

Biran, Misbach Yusa ( 1982), Indonesian cinema: lintasan sejarah ('Indonesian cinema: a historical perspective').

Heider, Karl ( 1991), Indonesian Cinema. National Culture on Screen.

Said, Salim ( 1991), Shadows on the Silver Screen: A Social History of the Indonesian Film.

Sen, Krishna ( 1994), Indonesian Cinema: Framing the New Order.

China After the Revolution


The history of cinema on the Chinese mainland after the Communist take-over in 1949 falls into four distinct periods. From 1949 to 1966, a national film base financed by the state produced Socialist Realist 'worker-peasantsoldier' films, in an attempt to build an indigenous 'revolutionary cinema'. Feature film production virtually stopped during the early years of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1972, except for ten filmed operas ('revolutionary model operas'). In the years following the Cultural Revolution innovative efforts and 'exploratory films' dismantled the conventions of classical revolutionary realism and redefined the language of Chinese cinema. Then, in 1987, studios took up full financial accountability and started producing entertainment movies, prompting a gradual reversal to a market-driven commercial cinema.


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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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