The non/industries of film and the Palestinian emergent film economy

Authored by: Viviane Saglier

The Routledge Companion to World Cinema

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138918801
eBook ISBN: 9781315688251
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter seeks to position the framework of World Cinema with respect to film productions that are not understood as forming a cohesive film industry—despite efforts at organising filmmaking practices—because they are not supported by a strong state. I argue for an epistemology of world cinema that would bypass state powers as the primary lens to read industrial formations, and for a critical study of top-down processes of legitimisation. In his general introduction to Critical Approaches to World Cinema (Hill 2000), John Hill reasserts the worldwide economic predominance of the US film industry (here condensed to Hollywood), which to him explains the emphasis of critical writings on the topic. From this observation derives Hill’s definitional focus of his co-edited volume on World Cinema with Church Gibson, which “is devoted to non-Hollywood cinemas, both in the sense of films that are made geographically outside Hollywood and films which have adopted a different aesthetic model of filmmaking from Hollywood” (Hill 2000: xiv). The conceptualisation of World Cinema within this binary tends to perpetuate power relations already in place by directly deducing the theoretical importance of an object of study from the latter’s economic, political and diplomatic influence. Moreover, the emphasis falls on Hollywood to set a standard for what constitutes a proper film industry. The developing film industries in the Global South, small nations, and beyond have, however, defended a variety of positions in regards to Hollywood films and their strong presence locally. These industries in the making have also crafted their own strategies with respect to their particular needs and economic contexts. To echo Lúcia Nagib, instead of arguing for an oppositional definition of World Cinema, how can we theorise World Cinema from within—from the point of view of these film productions and more largely from film economies that have been described as World Cinema (Nagib 2006)?

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