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FI204-15 World Cinema

SCAPVC - Film & Television Studies
Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Karl Schoonover
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
60% coursework, 40% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The category of ‘world cinema’ represents a point of convergence for both the flattening impulses of a universalizing neoliberalism and the more radical bents of internationalist coalition-building. In other words, such cinema figures large in affective negotiations of global culture, world community and international human rights. This course looks at the wide range of fictional feature films, including the work of Deepa Metha, Akira Kurosawa, Samira Makhmalbaf and Satyajit Ray, among others. This course addresses several specific topics, including: transnational marketing¬, the touristic gaze, the politics of dubbing/subtitling, and the slow cinema debates.

Module aims

This module reassesses ‘world cinema’ in light of globalization and global crises. Since the term ‘world cinema’ has always simultaneously invoked industrial, generic and aesthetic categories, our reckoning of the field hopes to expose otherwise unseen geopolitical fault lines. We investigate the historical and current contexts for the widening distribution of non-Hollywood films. We also examine the renaissance of international art cinema practices in recent decades, including new waves from East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Sample outline:
Week 1. Which World? And Whose World?
Screening: Pather Panchali (Ray, 1955)
Required readings:

  • Neepa Majumdar, ‘Pather Panchali: From Neorealism to Melodrama’ in Film Analysis, eds Jeffrey Geiger and R.L. Rutsky (New York: Norton, 2005).
  • Satyajit Ray, ‘Under Western Eyes’ in Sight and Sound, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Autumn 1982): 268-74.

Week 2. Neorealism’s World
Screening: Riso Amaro / Bitter Rice (Giuseppe De Santis, 1949)
Required readings:

  • Michael Silverman, ‘Italian film and American capital, 1947–1951’, in Patricia Mellencamp and Philip Rosen (eds), Cinema Histories, Cinema Practices (Los Angeles, CA: University Publications of America, 1984).
  • Betz, Mark. ‘High and Low and in between’ Screen 54, no. 4 (December 1, 2013): 495–513.
  • Wilinsky, Barbara. “Discourses on Art Houses in the 1950s.” In Exhibition, the Film Reader, edited by Ina Rae Hark, 67–75. London/New York: Routledge, 2002.

Week 3. Post-World-War II Arthouses Audiences and the Idea of the Foreign Film
Screening: Rashomon (Kurosawa, 1950)
Required readings:

  • Smith, Greg M. ‘Critical Reception of Rashomon in the West.’ Asian Cinema 13.2 (Fall/Winter 2002) 115-28. []
  • Exhibitor manual for 1957 USA release of Rashomon, Edward Harrison distribution company, New

Week 4. Third Cinema: The Liberation Aesthetics of Postcolonial Films
Screenings: De cierta manera / One Way or Another (Sara Gómez, 1977)
Required readings:

  • Espinosa, Julio García. ‘For an Imperfect Cinema’, translated by Julianne Burton in Jump Cut, no. 20, 1979, pp. 24-26.
  • Espinosa, Julio Garcìa. ‘Mediations on Imperfect Cinema . . . Fifteen Years Later.’ Screen 26, no. 3–4 (1985): 93–94.
  • Solanas, Fernando, and Octavio Getino. ‘Toward a Third Cinema: Notes and Experiences for the Development of a Cinema of Liberation in the Third World.’ In Twenty-Five Years of the New Latin American Cinema, edited by Michael Chanan and Michael (London: British Film Institute and Channel 4 Television, 1983): 17–27.

Week 5. Iranian Cinema: Revising Realism and Submerged Politics
The Apple (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998)
Required readings:

  • Rosenbaum, Jonathan. ‘A Few Underpinnings of the New Iranian Cinema.’
  • IndieWire. ‘Samira Makhmalbaf: God and Satan in The Apple.’
  • Said, S.F. “‘This Girl Behaves against It’: An Interview with Samira Makhmalbaf.” In Corinn Columpar and Sophie Mayer, eds. There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2009: 163–71.

Week 7. Slow Cinema’s Aestheticism, Auteurism, and Cinematicity
Screening: What Time Is It There? (Tsai, 2001)
Required readings:

  • Ma, Jean. ‘Tsai Ming-liang’s Haunted Movie Theater’ in Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories, ed. Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover (Oxford University Press, 2010): 334-350.
  • Schoonover, Karl. ‘Wastrels of Time: Slow Cinema’s Laboring Body, the Political Spectator, and the Queer’ Framework 53.1 (Spring 2012): 65-78.

Week 8. National Queers and the Question of the ‘Gay International’
Screening: Fire (Deepa Metha, 1996)
Required readings:

  • Gopinath, Gayatri. ‘On Fire’ GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (1998) 4(4): 631-636;

Week 9. Neoliberalism’s World
Screening: Lan Yu (Stanley Kwan, 2001)
Required readings:

  • David Eng ‘The Queer Space of China: Expressive Desire in Stanley Kwan’s Lan Yu.’ In Olivia Khoo and Sean Metzger, eds. Futures of Chinese Cinema Technologies and Temporalities in Chinese Screen Cultures. Bristol, UK/Chicago, USA: Intellect, 2009.

Week 10. Hong Kong Popular Cinema
Screening: Peking Opera Blues (Tsui, 1986)
Required readings:

  • Lau, Jenny Kwok Wah, ‘Peking Opera Blues: Exploding Genre, Gender and History,’ in Film Analysis edited by Jeffrey Geiger and R.L. Rutsky (Norton, 2005): 738-755.
  • Stringer, Julian, “Review: Peking Opera Blues by Tsui Hark” Film Quarterly Vol. 48 No. 3, Spring, 1995: pp. 34-42.
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • At the end of this module, students should be able to describe and analyse a range of critical and historical debates about the study of world cinemas.
  • In particular, they will be able to describe and analyse the ways in which national cinemas may be actively constituted in international critical discourses.
  • They will be able to describe and analyse the representation of world concerns within a particular modes of world filmmaking and their reception.
  • They will be able to describe and analyse ideas of genre, realism and authorship in relation to world cinemas.
  • They will be able to describe and analyse definitions of identity and questions of cultural specificity in relation to world cinemas.
Indicative reading list

Abbas, M. A. Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance. Public Worlds, v. 2. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
Andermann, Jens. New Argentine Cinema. Tauris World Cinema Series. London: I.B. Tauris, 2012.
Andrew, Dudley. ‘An Atlas of World Cinema.’ In Remapping World Cinema: Identity, Culture and Politics in Film, edited by Stephanie Dennison and Song Hwee Lim, 19–29. London; New York: Wallflower Press, 2006.
———. “The Roots of the Nomadic: Gilles Deleuze and the Cinema of West Africa.” In The Brain Is the Screen, edited by G. Flaxman, 215–49. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 2000.
———. ‘Time Zones and Jetlag: The Flows and Phases of World Cinema.’ In World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives, edited by Natasa Durovicová and Kathleen Newman, New York: Routledge, 2010.
Armes, Roy. African Filmmaking: North and South of the Sahara. Traditions in World Cinema. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006.
Badley, Linda, R. Barton Palmer, and Steven Jay Schneider, eds. Traditions in World Cinema. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006.
Berry, Michael. Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
Betz, Mark. “Art, Exploitation, Underground.” In Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste, edited by Mark Jancovich, 202–11. Manchester ; New York: Manchester University Press, 2003.
———. Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.
———. “Dubbing and Subtitling.” In Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, edited by Barry Keith Grant and Thomson Gale, 101–4. Detroit, Michigan: Schirmer Reference, 2007.
———. “Co-Productions.” In Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, edited by Barry Keith Grant and Thomson Gale, 369–72. Detroit, Michigan: Schirmer Reference, 2007.
Bordwell, David. Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment. Cambridge, Mass./London: Harvard University Press, 2000.
Carter, Sean. International Politics and Film: Space, Vision, Power. London/New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.
Chanan, Michael. Cuban Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
Celli, Carlo. National Identity in Global Cinema: How Movies Explain the World. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
Chaudhuri, Shohini. Contemporary World Cinema: Europe, the Middle East, EastAsia and South Asia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005.
Costanzo, William. World Cinema Through Global Genres. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Cowie, Peter. Revolution!: The Explosion of World Cinema in the 60s. London: Faber, 2004.
Creekmur, Corey K., and Linda Y. Mokdad, eds. The International Film Musical. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012.
Dennison, Stephanie and Song Hwee Lim, eds. Remapping World Cinema: Identity, Culture and Politics in Film. London/New York: Wallflower Press, 2006.
Dissanayake, Wimal.‘Issues in World Cinema’, in John Hill and Pamela Church Gibson (eds), The Oxford Guide to Film Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998: 527–34.
Ďurovičová, Natasa, and Kathleen E. Newman, eds. World Cinemas, Transnational Perspectives. AFI Film Readers. New York: Routledge, 2010.
Egoyan, Atom, and Ian Balfour, eds. Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film. Alphabet City, no. 9. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004.
Ezra, Elizabeth, and Terry Rowden, eds. Transnational Cinema, The Film Reader. New Ed edition. London ; New York: Routledge, 2005.
Fan, Victor. Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2015.
Galt, Rosalind, and Karl Schoonover, eds. Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Histories. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Galt, Rosalind. The New European Cinema: Redrawing the Map. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.
Gates, Philippa, and Lisa Funnell, eds. Transnational Asian Identities in Pan-Pacific Cinemas: The Reel Asian Exchange. New York: Routledge, 2012.
Geiger, Jeffrey, and R. L. Rutsky, eds. Film Analysis: A Norton Reader. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005.
Ghosh, Shohini. Fire. Queer Film Classic. Arsenal Pulp Press,, 2010.
Gopinath, Gayatri. Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. Durham, N.C./London: Duke University Press, 2005.
Grant, Catherine, and Annette Kuhn, eds. Screening World Cinema: The Screen Reader. London/New York: Routledge, 2006.
Grieveson, Dr Lee, and Colin MacCabe, eds. Empire and Film. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
——— , eds. Film and the End of Empire. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
Harvey, David. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford/ New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Hjort, Mette. Small Nation, Global Cinema: The New Danish Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
Hjort, Mette, and Scott Mackenzie, eds. Cinema and Nation. London/New York: Routledge, 2000.
Hjort, Mette, and Duncan J. Petrie, eds. The Cinema of Small Nations. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007.
Hill, John, Pamela Church Gibson, Richard Dyer, E. Ann Kaplan, and Paul Willemen, eds. World Cinema: Critical Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Khoo, Olivia, and Sean Metzger, eds. Futures of Chinese Cinema Technologies and Temporalities in Chinese Screen Cultures. Bristol, UK/USA: Intellect, 2009.
Lobato, Ramon. Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution. British Film Institute, 2012.
Luca, Tiago De. Realism of the Senses in World Cinema. London: I.B.Tauris, 2013
Marcantonio, Carla. Global Melodrama: Nation, Body, and History in Contemporary Film. New York, NY: AIAA, 2015.
Martin, Michael T., ed. New Latin American Cinema: Theory, Practices, and Transcontinental Articulations Vol One. Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, 1997.
———, ed. New Latin American Cinema: Studies of National Cinemas. Vol Two. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997.
Naficy, Hamid. A Social History of Iranian Cinema. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press,2012.
———. An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Nagib, Lucia. World Cinema and the Ethics of Realism. New York, NY: Continuum, 2011.
Nagib, Lúcia, Christopher Perriam, and Rajinder Kumar Dudrah, eds. Theorizing World Cinema. London: I.B. Tauris, 2012.
Nornes, Abe Mark. Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey, ed. The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Pines, Jim, and Paul Willemen, eds. Questions of Third Cinema. London: BFI Publishing, 1990.
Ray, Satyajit. Our Films, Their Films. Bombay: Orient Longman, 1976.
Rich, B. Ruby. New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut. Durham ; London: Duke University Press, 2013.
Richie, Donald. Focus on Rashomon. Film Focus. Englewood Cliffs ; (Hemel Hempstead): Prentice-Hall, 1972.
Roberts, Martin. “‘Baraka’: World Cinema and the Global Culture Industry.” Cinema Journal 37, no. 3 (April 1, 1998): 62–82.
———. “Notes on the Global Underground: Subcultures and Globalization.” Chapter in Ken Gelder and Sarah Thornton’s second edition of The Subcultures Reader (Routledge, 2005).
Robinson, David. World Cinema: A Short History. London: Eyre Methuen, 1973.
Rockett, Kevin, and John Hill, eds. National Cinemas and World Cinema. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006.
Rojas, Carlos, and Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Rony, Fatimah Tobing. The Third Eye: Race, Cinema, and Ethnographic Spectacle. Duke University Press Books, 2012.
Rotha, Paul. The Film till Now: A Survey of World Cinema. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. London: Vision Press, 1949.
Shaw, Deborah. ‘Deconstructing and Reconstructing ‘Transnational Cinema’, in S. Dennison, ed. Contemporary Hispanic Cinema: Interrogating Transnationalism in Spanish and Latin American Film. Woodbridge: Tamesis. 48-66.
Teo, Stephen. Chinese Martial Arts Cinema: The Wuxia Tradition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
Tweedie, James. The Age of New Waves: Art Cinema and the Staging of Globalization. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Ukadike, Nwachukwu Frank. Black African Cinema. Berkeley; London: University of California Press, 1994.
Wilinsky, Barbara. “Discourses on Art Houses in the 1950s.” In Exhibition, the Film Reader, edited by Ina Rae Hark, 67–75. London/New York: Routledge, 2002.
———. Sure Seaters: The Emergence of Art House Cinema. Commerce and Mass Culture Series. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
Zhang, Yingjin. Cinema, Space, and Polylocality in a Globalizing China. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2010.

Research element

The module's essay requires students to work with primary documents from the film industry. To prepare for this essay, the students will be introduced to a series of exercises for developing their skills working with archival materials and developing arguments based upon these materials.


This module largely focuses on non-western cinemas and filmmaking practicing of the 'global south'. It aims to grant students with more elaborated and nuanced understandings of cultures from parts of the world without market dominance over media distribution channels. See the module description and aims for more details.

Subject specific skills

This module develops skills of audio-visual literacy, through close textual and/or contextual analysis in relation to the moving image and sound. It may also develops understandings of historical, theoretical and conceptual frameworks relevant to screen arts and cultures.

Transferable skills
  • critical and analytical thinking in relation
  • independent research skills, including working with primary documents from the film industry
  • team work
  • clarity and effectiveness of communication, oral and written
  • accurate, concise and persuasive writing
  • audio-visual literacy

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Other activity 18 hours (12%)
Private study 113 hours (76%)
Total 149 hours
Private study description

Students will conduct reading and supplementary viewing throughout the module. They will read and view in-depth for preparation of the essay. They will read, view and revise earlier work in preparation for the examination.

Other activity description



No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group D
Weighting Study time
Written Assignment (3000 words) 60%
Online Examination 40% 1 hour

a one-hour essay based exam

~Platforms - AEP

Feedback on assessment

Written feedback on assessed work and oral feedback by appointment.

Past exam papers for FI204


This module is Core for:

  • Year 2 of UFIA-W620 Undergraduate Film Studies
  • Year 2 of UFIA-QW25 Undergraduate Film and Literature