The introduction sets out the rationale of the book and you can read the first five pages on the Routledge website.

If you are wondering what I mean by ‘global film’, here’s a short extract from the Introduction:

 . . . why call this The Global Film Book? At the simplest level, global is used here to refer to all forms of film culture wherever they are found. We are interested in how these different film forms produce meaning in different cultural contexts and how filmmaking is possible (or not) in different parts of the world. In doing so we will encounter all the other approaches [i.e. ‘world cinema’, ‘transnational cinema’ etc.] and perhaps suggest why a single approach is likely to be lacking in some way. In Theorizing World Cinema (2012) Lúcia Nagib, Chris Perriam and Rajinder Dudrah introduce many interesting and useful ideas in an attempt to escape from the negative effect of binarisms – the concept of simple oppositions to explain complex relationships. The most obvious of these is Hollywood vs the Rest of the World, which can lead in turn to ‘us’ and ‘them’ or ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’. As they point out:

In multicultural, multi-ethnic societies like ours, cinematic expressions from various origins cannot be seen as ‘the other’, for the simple reason that they are us. More interesting than their difference is, in most cases, their interconnectedness. (Nagib et al, 2012: xxiii)

This statement follows a move away from a eurocentric approach to films and film theory credited to the impact of the pioneering work of Ella Shohat and Robert Stam and their 1994 book Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media. Shohat and Stam argued that scholars needed to think their way out of a situation in which knowledge and theoretical work had developed in the context of colonialist systems with their assumptions of control over other cultures. The Global Film Book endorses and hopes to contribute to a move towards what Nagib et al have termed polycentrism in film studies. This means that we will recognise that there are many starting points for discussing film culture and many different ‘flows’ of films between different parts of the world. We won’t find it easy to try to understand how these flows operate or how films might create different kinds of meanings in different cultural contexts, but in making an attempt we will both enrich our own film culture and make ourselves more open to others.

3 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. I teach a course entitled “Foreign Film” in a Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at an open access university. My specialization is Russian language and theater. The course counts toward the general education requirement, so has consistent enrollment, which cannot be said of language courses above the requirement level, and therefore includes guest lectures from members of our perforce “Eurocentric” department members. However, one assignment is for students to present “sneak previews” of films of interest, and this has expanded my own acquaintance with global films. A major goal is to expand their sensitivity to the different “readings” of the films from the point of view of national vs. domestic audiences. This book is the closest I have found to my own approach, while greatly expanding it well beyond my autodidactic approach.

  2. I am about to start teaching International Communication. In the past I never found a textbook that met my goals for the course, so I used separate readings on Bollywood, Anime, Latin American media, etc. This year I found the Global Film Book, and I decided to use it as the main required text.

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