World cinema

World cinema

World cinema is a term used primarily in English language speaking countries to refer to the films and film industries of non-English speaking countries (those outside of the "Anglosphere"). It is therefore often used interchangeably with the term Foreign film. However, both "World cinema" and "Foreign film" could be taken to refer to the films of all countries other than one's own, regardless of native language. [Curran, Daniel. "Foreign Films: More than 500 films on video cassette," pages v-vi. Evanston, Illinois: CineBooks, 1989.]

Technically, "foreign film" does not mean the same as "foreign language film", but the inference, particularly in the U.S., is that a foreign film is not only foreign in terms of the country of production, but also in terms of the language used. As such, the use of the term "foreign film" for films produced in the UK, Australia, Canada or other English speaking countries would be uncommon.

In other English speaking countries, it would be extremely unlikely to class films made in the U.S. as "foreign films", or belonging to "World cinema", as American films are reasonably dominant in all English-language markets.

World cinema has an un-official implication of films with "artistic value" as opposed to "Hollywood commercialism." Foreign language films are often grouped with "art house films" and other independent films in DVD stores, cinema listings etc.Unless dubbed into one's native language, foreign language films played in English speaking regions usually have English subtitles. Few films of this kind receive more than a limited release and many are never played in major cinemas. As such the marketing, popularity and gross takings for these films are usually markedly less than for typical Hollywood blockbusters. The combination of subtitles and minimal exposure adds to the notion that "World Cinema" has an inferred artistic prestige or intelligence, which may discourage less sophisticated viewers. Additionally, differences in cultural style and tone between foreign and domestic films affects attendance at cinemas and DVD sales. [Curran, ibid.]

Foreign language films can be commercial, low brow or B-movies, so to automatically assume that World cinema is "arty" or intellectual is erroneous. Furthermore, foreign language films can cross cultural boundaries, particularly when the visual spectacle and style is sufficient to overcome people's misgivings. Films of this ilk are becoming more common, and recent examples such as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Amélie" and "Brotherhood of the Wolf" enjoyed great success in Western cinemas and DVD sales. The first foreign and foreign language film to top the North American box office was "Hero" in the fall of 2004. [cite web |title='Hero' Soars to Late August Record|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=1445&p=.htm|site=boxofficemojo.com|author=Brandon Gray|date=August 29, 2004]

World cinema on DVD

Foreign language films that are particularly successful in international markets may be taken on by the large film distribution companies for DVD releases. At the other end of the scale, many foreign language films are never given a DVD release outside of their home markets. The majority of those DVDs that are given an international release, come out on specialist labels. These labels include:

* Arrow Films (UK) - Label specialising in foreign language and cult English language films
* Artificial Eye (USA and UK)
* Axiom Films (UK)
* British Film Institute (UK)
* Contender Entertainment Group - Label distributing East Asian films. They bought out "Medusa Communications" in 2005, and own the sub-labels Hong Kong Legends (specialising in films from Hong Kong) and "Premier Asia" (specialising in films from the rest of East Asia, particularly Japan, South Korea and Thailand). CEG bought out the label
* The Criterion Collection (USA)
* Dragon Dynasty (USA) - Label specialising in films from East Asia.
* Eastern Eye (Australia)
* Eastern Heroes (UK) - European label specialising in films from East Asia. Eastern Heroes sold off many of their titles to "Medusa Communications" (before it was bought out by "Contender Entertainment Group") and "Soulblade" in the early 2000s.
* Facets Multimedia (USA)
* ImaginAsian Pictures (USA)
* Janus Films (USA)
* Kino International (USA) - Label distributing foreign language, arthouse and silent films.
* Manga Entertainment (USA and UK) - Label specialising in anime.
* Masters of Cinema (UK)
* Optimum Releasing (UK) - Distributor of foreign and English language films in the UK. East Asian films released through their "Optimum Asia" sub-label.
* Palador Pictures (India) - Distributors of highly awarded foreign language films from across the world.
* Second Run (UK)
* Showbox Home Entertainment (UK) - Label set up by the former directors of "Medusa Communications". They also release East Asian films through their "Rarescope" and "Cine Asia" brands.
* Soda Pictures (UK)
* Soulblade (UK)
* Studio Canal (France)
* Tartan Films (USA and UK) - Label distributing a variety of foreign and English language films, though primarily East Asian films. The company consists of "Tartan Video" in the UK and "Tartan Films USA", as well as the "Tartan Asia Extreme" and "Tartan Terror" horror labels.
* Third Window Films (UK) - Label specialising in East Asian films.

World cinema television channels

* World Cinema HD (USA)
* World Movies (Australia)
* World Movies TV (UK)

Cinema by continent and country

ee also

* World Cinema Foundation
* Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
* César Award for Best Foreign Film
* History of film
* [http://dearcinema.com/section/world-cinema/ Online World Cinema magazine DearCinema]

Footnotes


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