Transworld cinemas

Film-philosophies for world cinemas’ engagement with world history

Authored by: David Martin-Jones

The Routledge Companion to World Cinema

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

Print ISBN: 9781138918801
eBook ISBN: 9781315688251
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315688251.ch22

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Abstract

This chapter explores what it might mean to talk about “transworld cinemas”. This hybrid term (incorporating the trans of “transnational” and the world of “world cinemas” and situated between the two positions) is designed primarily to provoke new ways of thinking about films. I use this provocation to argue that we should increasingly classify or categorise films much as the field does currently for a national cinema, but with examples from across diverse cinemas. As I will elaborate below, in making this case I am neither original nor unique. However, I argue for it for a specific reason, which is the less usual aspect of my stance. It is my belief that in this way the long-standing historiographical question broached by scholars such as Hayden White, Robert Rosenstone, Marcia Landy, Robert Burgoyne and others—of just how films tell the story of history—can begin to be more rigorously examined in relation to a world of cinemas’ engagement with world history. That is, in the sense that the term “world cinemas” (or, as I prefer, “a world of cinemas”) is understood in the tradition of scholarship from Ella Shohat and Robert Stam’s Unthinking Eurocentrism (1994) through to Lucia Nagib’s “positive” model of a decentred world of cinemas (2006). There are various ways of proceeding in such an endeavour, and here the film-philosophical is shown to provide some remarkably thought-provoking directions for future exploration.

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