World Film History
North Africa
Japan after the war
• Number of cinemas in operation: 1940: 2500, 1945: 850,
1956: 2500
• Censorship during the US occupation banning the idealization
of feudalism, imperialism and militarism; encouragement of
films praising peace and democracy
• 225 jidaigeki (period drama) films are ordered to be
destroyed, 40 leaders of film industry imprisoned for war
crimes (freed in 1956)
• Distribution of American films has a major impact on young
• Godzilla (1954) and other monster films emerge as a major
popular genre
• Independent critical film production begins to emerge
Major Japanese films
• TADASHI IMAI: Okinawa’s Lilies (1953)
• KON ICHIKAWA: Burmese Harp (1956), An Actor’s Revenge
• AKIRA KUROSAWA: Rashomon (1950), The Idiot, (1951), The
Seven Samurai (1957)
• KENJI MIZOGUCHI: Diary of Oharu (1952), Tales of Ugetsu
• YASUJIRO OZU: Tokio Story (1953), Early Spring (1956), Late
Autumn (1956), An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
• MASAKI KOBAYASHI: Barefoot through Hell (1959), Seppuku
(1962), Kwaidan (1964)
• NAGISA OSHIMA: Cruel Story of Youth
(1960), Death by Hanging (1968), The Realm of the Senses
Popular Japanese genres
• Yakuza, a very violent gangster genre emerges
toward the end of 1960s
• “pink films” or soft-core pornography,
sometimes with a touch of cinematic avant
garde as in Tetsuji takechi’s Hakujitsu mu and
Kokeimu (both in 1964) function as a training
ground for aspiring filmmakers
• Anime – tradition reaching back to 1917 –
gains tremendous popularity first at home in
the 1960s and abroad in the 1980s
• First cinemas showing mainly American and British films
opened in 1910
• Gradually domestic production emerges in the form of stage
adaptations and treatment of mythological themes
• With 12 major languages intertitles had to be in up to four
languages – sometimes together with a narrator
• Musicals make sound films mass entertainment
• Realism in a melodramatic context, e.g. succumbing to
alcoholism because of unrecruited love
• Devotional films
• After independence national Hindu policies at time thwart
local production
• Musical production balance by art-films (about 10%)
• Left wing “parallel cinema”
Major Indian films
DHUNDIRAJ GOVIND PHALKE: Raja Harischandra (1913)
P.C. BARUA: Devdas (1935), Mukti (1937)
V. DAMLEM & S. FATEHLAL: Sant Tukaram (1936)
K.A: ABBAS: Dharti Ke Lal (1946)
RAJ KAPOOR: Awara (1951), Shri 420 (1955)
SATYAJIT RAY: Pathe Panchali (1955), Apajarito (1957),
Parash Pathar (1958)
• BIMAL ROY: Do Bigha Zameen (1953)
• MRINAL SEN: Bhuvan Some (1969), Interview (1971),
Calcutta ’71 (1972)
Indian cinema has been inspired by
• Ramayana and Mahabharata
• Classical indian theatre
• Popular theatre (partly derived from classical
• 19th century Parsi theatre
• Hollywood
K. Moti Gokulsingi &Wimal Dissanayake
Contemporary Indian cinema
• Since 1971 India has been the biggest (or at least second
biggest) film producing country – up to 800-900 films per
annum in 12-16 languages
• Distributed into many Asian and African countries and
even to the USA
• In Chennai and Tamil Nadu states production may exceed
that of Bollywood in Mumbai
• Marudur Gopalemenon Ramachandran (M.G.R.): trom a
trixter figure into Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
• Followed by his protegée Jayalalitha Jayaram
Contemporary Indian Cinema
• PRAKASH JHA: The Death Sentence: Mrityu
Dand (1997)
• ANESS BAZMEE: Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998)
• MIRA NAIR: Monsoon Wedding (2004)
Chinese cinema before the war
• Domestic film industry begins in1905
• Chain shows: films and musical stage performances
• Genres for target audiences: monster films, detective stories,
family melodramas, psychological studies
• Production companies as a rule short lived
• Shanghai becomes a centre of film production in the 1930s:
first golden period
• Communists infiltrate major studios and begin production of
leftist-liberal films
• Japanese invasion in 1937 forces the film industry to more
further south into Hong Kong
• Japanese takeover of Shanghai film industry
Mainland Chinese cinema
HUI XI (producer): Wronged Ghosts of an Opium Den (1916?)
MINGXING (production company): Romance of Fruit Pedlar (1922)
JUNLI ZHENG: A Spring River Flows East (1947)
SUN YUN: The Life of Wu Xun (1950)
WU TIANMING: Life (1984)
LU XIAOYA: Girl in Red (1985)
CHEN BEICHEN: Under the Bridge (1984)
ZHANG JUNZHOA: One and Eight (1984)
CHEN KAIGE: Yellow Earth (1985), The Big Parade (1987), King of the
Children (1988), Farewell, my Concubine (1993)
• ZHANG YIMOU: Red Shorghum (1988), Ju dou (1990), Rise the Red
Lantern (1991)
People’s Republic of China, 1
• End of 1940s: the second golden period
• Film industry is nationalized and collectivized in 1949. New
studios and the Beijing Film School are established.
• In 1951 in order to avoid “ideological confusion” filmmakers
and critics are sent to reeducation and preventive censorship
is established
• Socialist Realism established as the main guideline in 1953-65.
• During the policy of ”hundred’s of flowers” in 1957 social
criticism is allowed.
• In 1958 the anti-right ”great leap forward” becomes the
mandatory topic of films. Earlier films are condemned
because they convey a false image of the Chinese worker,
peasant and soldier.
• In 1964 many directors are accused of reformism and their
films are labeled as ”poisonous weeds”.
• Cultural Revolution beginning in 1966: filmmakers are sent to
do agricultural work and to be re-educated
• Nearly all films made before 1949 are destroyed as being
contrary to the ideas of socialism and the party
• Film production is almost completely disrupted and continues
only in 1970
• Ten revolutionary operas are made under the supervision of
Mao’s widow
• A new boom begun in 1972 as its was allowed to take some
distance from traditional revolutionary realism
• Under the leadership of Deng Xiaopingin in 1978 a relatively
liberal period begun. Officially class struggle remained the
main guideline
• From the middle of 1980s the so-called fifth generation began
to make films more centered on the individual and to explore
new expressive means.
• After the Tienamen affair in1989 the sixth generation began
making critical small budget films while some of the older
master began making historical spectacles
Hong Kong film industry
• Strong Canton language film production in the 1930s
• During the war production is almost completely halted as film
makers refused to collaborate with the Japanese
• After the war filmmakers arriving from Shanghai begin the
production of Mandarin language films
• Both left- and right-wing films are made
• Kanton film is mainly mass entertainment for domestic
audiences – almost completely dies away in the 1970s
• Mandarin cinema is more quality conscious with a diasporic
audience spread over various parts of Asia
• Kung fu cinema: Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan
Hong Kong films
• ZHANG CHEN: One-Armed Swords-man (1967)
• WEI LO: First Fury (1972)
• TSUI HARK: All the Wrong Clues (for the Right
Solution) (1981)
• JOHN WOO: A Better Tomorrow (1986), Hard Boiled
• WONG KAR WAI: Chungking Express (1994), Happy
Together (1997), In the Mood for Love (2000), 2046
• Film production truly begins only in the the 1950s
• Films in Taiwanese and about local topics, stories and history,
often inspired by stage traditions
• Co-productions with Hong Kong and Japanese producers →
use of Mandarin
• A commercial studio system emerges in a big way in the 1960s
• State control in the 1960s: call for ”healthy realism”
• Art-house cinema of the highest standard beginning in the
1980s. Films made also in Taiwanese
Taiwanese films:
• KING HU: Touch of Zen (1971)
• HOU HSIAO-HSIEN: A Time to Live and a Time to Die
(1985) City of Sadness (1989), Puppet Master (1993),
Three Times (2006)
• EDWARD YANG: The Terrorizers (1986), A One and a
Two (2000)
• TSAI MING LIAN: The Hole (2000)
• ANG LEE: Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Mizoguchi: Sansho the Bailiff
• Historical film of two children sold to slavery
• You can follow one of Mizoguchi’s constant
themes: the fate of women in a patriarchal
• Keep also on eye on Kazuo Miyagawa’s
exquisite camera work and how it functions
South Korea
• Until 1987 cultural life is kept under strict militarypolitical control
• A great number of popular films made in the 1950s
and 60s
• Censorship particularly regarding political topics
could be harsh and arbitrary
• More political and art-house films in the 1980s
• Opening of the market for foreign films in 1985 is at
first a major setback for domestic film industry
• Action films, spectacles and their combinations in
the 1990s
• The state, film industry and business life
reorganize the funding, production and
training in1993
• Censorship replaced by a film board
• Hybridization between art and popular cinema
• By the turn of the century domestic films
receive more than half of box office receit
• South Korean entertainment industry
becomes very popular in many Asian countries
– and at international festivals
New South Korean Cinema
• JE-GYU KANG: Shiri (1999)
• CHAN-WOOK PARK: Joint Security Area (2000)
• KIM KI-DUK: The Birdcage Inn (1998), The Isle
(2000), Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
(2003), 3-iron (2004)
North Korean cinema
• The biggest estimates of the volume range from 15-80/annum – in some
years possibly only 1-2.
• Authors were to be “engineers of the human soul,” “not mirrors to its
infinite variety and capacity for individuality.”
• Artist were to help in creating a people faithful to the Great Leader and
dedicated to his view of revolution.
• Topics centred on resistance to the Japanese invaders, the horrors of the
Korean War, the continuing suffering of the people under American rule,
the inevitability of reunification under the appropriately regime.
• “writers and performers must have a firm understanding of the role of
class in the characterization of our enemies in order to depict clearly their
reactionary nature and their vulnerability. Our enemies must be portrayed
Pratt, Keith: Everlasting Flower – A History of Korea
Cinema in the Arab World
• At first, social and religious attitudes inhibit the
acceptance of cinema
• Two distinct tiers: luxurious air-conditioned cinemas
for the wealthy and small squalid cinemas for the
poor – even today
• Domestic production develops very slowly and is
heavily genre-bound
• Egyptian cinema emerges first and becomes almost
synonymous with Arab cinema
• Sound enlarges the audience, musicals become a
particularly popular genre
• Though cinema is very popular in Lebanon, there is very
little production before the 1950s
• No production in Iraq or Syria before 1945
• First feature film in Iraq in 1977 and then some
investment on epic super productions
• Nationalizing of Egyptian film production in 1961is
disastrous but gives the other Arab countries a chance
• Governments have not subsidized production but have
rather seen it as a source of revenue
• Until fairly recently only Egypt has had some art-house
production – the only Arab country which has a film
Cinema in The Maghreb
• By 1950s some 200 colonial films made by Europeans –
only 9 feature films by native directors
• New national cinemas emerge in the 1960s under fairly
rigid state control
• In the 1960s and 70s the films typically depict national
• Independent socially critical production with French
assistance emerges in the 1980s – distribution mainly
through festivals and television channels.
• Films probably reach bigger European than domestic
Cinema in the Arab world - beginnings
• ALBERT SHAMAMA [CHIKLY]: Zahra (1922), Ain al-Gheza
• MOHAMED BAYOMI: Al bash kateb (1922)
• IBRAHAM LAMA: Qubla fil-Sahara (1927)
• MARIO VOLPI: Anshudat al-fuad (1932)
Baalbek (1935)
Modern Arab Cinema
• YOUSSEF CHAHINE: Cairo Station (1958), Salladin (1963),
The Sparrow (1973), Destiny (1998)
• HEINY SROUR: Beirut: The Encounter (1982) Leila and the
Wolves (1984)
• ZIAD DOUEINI: West Beyrouth 1998
• SHUKRY JAMIL: Clash of Loyalties (1983)
• FERID BOUGHEDIR: Halfaouine: Boy of the Terraces
(1990), A Summer in La Goulette (1995)
• MOUFIDA TLATLIN: The Silences of the Palace (1994), The
Season of Men (2000)
Iranian cinema
• Domestic production at first only actualities and
documentaries for the Shah family and the upper class
• First fiction film in 1930
• Heavy censorship gives domestic production a slight
• Poor economic and technical infrastructure curtails
• Religious taboos inhibit cinema going, particularly among
• American cinema and television consolidates its position in
the 1950s
• Shah Reza Pahlavi gradually tightens control of cinema
• Maintaining socially critical independent production is made
difficult – particularly when winning acclaim abroad
• Most people prefer Egyptian and Indian musicals and
melodramas, or action films with tough guys fighting for Iran
against Western influences
• Islamic revolution condemns cinema as a supporter of the Shah
and colonialism → some 180 cinemas destroyed and more than
90 % of films made in Iran are banned → refugee cinema
• Since 1980s cinema has developed well despite restrictions –
social criticism allowed, but not that of religious matters
• While directors may be imprisoned and films shelved, Iranian
cinema is hailed abroad as “one of the world's most important
artistic cinemas.”
AVANES OHANIAN: Haji, the movie director (1930)
ARDESHIR IRANI: The Lor Girls (1933)
ESMA’IL KUSHAN: Tempest of Life (1948)
MOHSEN MAKHMALBAF: Gabbeh (1996) Silence (1998)
ABBAS KIAROSTAMI: Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987),
(1992), Taste of Cherry (1997), The Wind Will Carry Us
• JAFAR PANAHI: The Circle (2000), Offside (2006)
• ASHGHAR FARHADI: A Sepration (2011, first Iranian film
to win an Academy Award))
Youssef Chahine: Al-massir
/Destiny (1997)
• Story about Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes, a
12th-century Andalusian philosopher, major
translator and commentator of Aristotle
• What kind of understanding of Averroes’
philosophy emerges from the film?
• How is the this historical drama made relevant
in today’s context?

World Film History