In Chapter 9, we will cover the intersection of Hollywood and the British Film Industry. For example, the English comedic actor Charlie Chaplin (*1), perhaps cinema’s greatest icon, became a global star through the silent films and talkies he made in Hollywood. However, in the 40s his popularity declined rapidly for his political views and a string of affairs. In the 50s, he was accused of communist sympathies, and he was forced to leave the U.S. and settle in Switzerland.
*1 Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) was an English actor, movie director, producer, and screenwriter best known for films like The Kid and City Lights.
Then there’s the English director Alfred Hitchcock (*2), the master of suspense who made most of his most iconic work in Hollywood, or the American director Stanley Kubrick (*3), whose dislike of the Hollywood industry led him to move to the U.K. and spend most of the remainder of his career there.
*2 Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) is an English movie director and producer best known for films like Vertigo and Psycho.
*3 Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) was an American movie director, producer, and screenwriter best known for films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange.
We will also look at the English actors who have played American icons, and the American actors who have played English icons. In recent years Welsh actor Christian Bale (*4) has played the American superhero Batman; the American legend of the screen Meryl Streep (*5) has played the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher—and even won an Oscar for her portrayal.
*4 Christian Bale (1974-) is a Welsh actor best known for films like American Psycho and The Dark Knight trilogy.
*5 Meryl Streep (1949- ) is an American actress best known for films like Kramer, Kramer and The Iron Lady.
In Chapter 10, we will look at the cinema of the U.K., France, and Italy. The British film industry has produced historical epics like Lawrence of Arabia, as well as massively popular franchises like James Bond, Monty Python, and Harry Potter.
From France, we will start with Georges Méliès, an illusionist and film director who pioneering many technical and narrative elements in the earliest days of cinema. Then we will look at the generation of French filmmakers who were influenced by the introduction of Hollywood films into Europe following the end of World War II. Young directors like Jean-Luc Godard (*7), François Truffaut (*8), and Éric Rohmer (*9) were called the French New Wave for their rejection of traditional filmmaking conventions in favor of experimentation. Their work would influence filmmakers around the world and inspire similar movements such as New Hollywood and the Japanese New Wave.
*6 Georges Méliès (1861-1938) was a French illusionist and film director best known for films like A Trip to the Moon.
*7 Jean-Luc Godard (1930- ) is a French film director best known for films like Contempt and Pierrot le Fou.
*8 François Truffaut (1932-1984) is a French film director best known for films like Les Quatre Cents Coups and Day for Night.
*9 Éric Rohmer (1920-2010) was a French film director best known for films like My Night at Maud’s and Claire’s Knee.
From Italy, we will look at masters of cinema such as Roberto Rossellini (*10) and Frederico Fellini (*11), who are known as part of the Italian neorealism movement. We will also look at the Spaghetti Westerns that emerged out of the work of Sergio Leone (*12).
*10 Roberto Rossellini (1906-1977) was an Italian film director best known for films like Rome, Open City and Paisan.
*11 Frederico Fellini (1920-1993) was an Italian film director and screenwriter best known for films like La Strada and La Dolce Vita.
*12 Sergio Leone (1929-1989) was an Italian film director best known for the Dollars Trilogy and the Once Upon a Time films.
In Chapter 11, we will look at the the cinema of other European countries like Germany, Poland, Russia, and Spain. From Germany, we will look at the directors of the New German Cinema movement, who were greatly influenced by the French New Wave: Rainer Werner Fassbinder (*13), Werner Herzog (*14), and Wim Wenders (*15). Their low-budget films enticed art film fans from around the world.
*13 Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982) is a German film director and screenwriter best known for films like The Merchant of Four Seasons and The Marriage of Maria Braun.
*14 Werner Herzog (1942- ) is a German film director best known for films like Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Grizzly Man.
*15 Wim Wenders (1945- ) is a German film director best known for films like Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas.
We will also cover the cinema of Mexico, namely the “three amigos”— Alejandro González Iñárritu (*16), Alfonso Cuarón (*17), and Guillermo Del Toro (*18)—who would achieve both critical and box office success and move filmmaking forward with technical and narrative innovations.
*16 Alejandro González Iñárritu (1963- ) is a Mexican film director, producer, and screenwriter best known for films like Amores Perros and The Revenant.
*17 Alfonso Cuarón (1961- ) is a Mexican film director, producer, and screenwriter best known for films like Children of Men and Gravity.
*18 Guillermo Del Toro (1964- ) is a Mexican film director and producer best known for films like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water.
From Australia we will look at the work of such filmmakers as George Miller (*19), who is known for the Mad Max series.
Mad Max: Fury Road is already considered one of the 21st century’s greatest action films.
*19 George Miller (1945-) is an Australian film director best known for the Mad Max films.
We’ve published a number of pieces about Japanese filmmakers in CINEMA & THEATRE so far, but in this series we will take a bird’s eye view of Japanese cinema as a whole, looking at its relationship with Hollywood and the cinema of Europe, as well as highlighting the innovations that are unique to Japanese cinema culture.
No overview of the cinema of Japan would be complete without a look at how directors like Kurosawa Akira (*20) and Ozu Yasujiro (*21) became globally renown. We will also look at how a film production company called Art Theatre Guild championed Japan’s New Wave.
*20 Kurosawa Akira (1910-1998) was a Japanese film director and screenwriter best known for films like Rashomon and Seven Samurai.
*21 Ozu Yasujiro (1903-1963) was a Japanese film director and screenwriter best known for films like Tokyo Story and Late Spring.
Then there are directors like Imamura Shohei (*22), Kitano Takeshi (*23), and Koreda Hirokazu (*24), who have received acclaim and accolades at the world’s most prestigious film festivals. Meanwhile, films like the Tora-san series are quintessentially Japanese but little known outside of the country.
*22 Imamura Shohei (1926-2006) was a Japanese film director, producer, and screenwriter best known for films like Vengeance is Mine and The Ballad of Narayama.
*23 Kitano Takeshi (1947- ) is a Japanese film director and screenwriter best known for films like Violent Cop and Hana-Bi. He is also a renowned comedian known by the name Beat Takeshi.
*24 Koreeda Hirokazu (1962- ) is a Japanese film director, producer, and screenwriter best known for films like Nobody Knows and Shoplifters.
Finally, we will look at how the Japanese film industry has become increasingly insular and inward-looking, with most of its releases today being adaptations of anime properties and TV dramas.
In Chapter 13, we will look at the directors, producers, screenwriters, and actors and actresses that have shaped the cinema of Japan. We will consider what Japan’s box office rankings reveal about the current state of the domestic industry. And we will also reflect on the work of Japanese film critics like Yodogawa Nagaharu (*25) and Machiyama Tomohiro (*26).
*25 Yodogawa Nagaharu (1909-1998) was a Japanese film critic known for introducing Japanese audiences to Western films.
*26 Machiyama Tomohiro (1962- ) is a Japanese editor and film critic based in the U.S.
In Chapter 14, we will look at the cinema of Asia, India, and the Middle East. China is known for historical martial arts epics like Hero and the Red Cliff series, while Hong Kong is known for actions films like Police Story. Actors and stunt performers like Jackie Chan (*27) and Jet Li (*28), as well as directors like John Woo (*29) have achieved global fame and completely changed the face of Hollywood action films.
*27 Jackie Chan (1954- ) is an actor from Hong Kong best known for his martial arts choreography, stunt work, and films such as Project A and Police Story.
*28 Jet Li (1963- ) is a Chinese actor best known for his martial arts choreography and films such as Fist of Legend and Hero.
*29 John Woo (1946- ) is a film director, producer, and screenwriter from Hong Kong best known for films like Face/Off and the Red Cliff series.
From Korea, we will look at directors like Park Chan-wook (*30), who is known for revenge films like Oldboy, and Bong Joon-ho (*31), whose latest film Parasite became the first foreign language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars.
*30 Park Chan-wook (1963- ) is a South Korean film director, producer, and screenwriter best known for films like Old Boy and Handmaiden.
*31 Bong Joon-ho (1969- ) is a South Korean film director and screenwriter best known for films like Snowpiercer and Parasite.
No survey of world cinema would be complete without a look at Bollywood, the film industry based in Mumbai, India. Although Bollywood films are not widely viewed by American and European audiences, the industry is one of the largest in the world, with ticket sales comparable to Hollywood. The English director Danny Boyle scored a worldwide hit with his 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, which has been described as “Hollywood meets Bollywood”, although the movie’s gritty aesthetic bears no resemblance to traditional Bollywood films.
In Chapter 15, we will cover film awards and film festivals from around the world. That includes the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, as well as various prestigious critics awards. Then there are the British Academy Film Awards (or the BAFTAs), which are internationally respected, and the Japanese Academy Film Prizes, which are pretty much irrelevant outside of Japan.
In terms of film festivals, we will cover international film festivals like Berlin, Cannes, and Venice, as well as the Toronto International Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival in Spain, and Tribeca and Sundance in the U.S.
In Chapter 16, we will look at how video streaming services have changed the industry landscape—and the way we consume movies. Today, Netflix has grown so big that it releases a new feature-length film or TV series seemingly every week. Films like Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, which was distributed by Netflix, have even won critical accolades. The movie theater industry had already been hurting as a result of the spread of these services, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made things bleaker. Major movie studios have been releasing some of their films online while continuing to push back the theatrical debut of their tentpole films for the year. With film festivals canceled around the world, independent filmmakers are especially struggling with finding ways to get their movies out there.
Compared to the Hollywood films we will look at in the first half of this series, the films coming out of Europe an Asia are generally smaller in terms of both scope and budget. Many of them are challenging art films fueled by a filmmaker’s clear vision, rather than commercial releases catering to the lowest common denominator. That's partly the result of Europe’s long tradition of arts and culture.
Countries like China, South Korea, and Japan have each fostered a distinct cinema culture. While the Japanese film industry is content to twiddle its thumbs and cater to the domestic market, South Korea cinema has made international inroads. Meanwhile, China has a market so big that it’s Hollywood that has come knocking on their door. The influence of Chinese money in Hollywood is only growing.
Here it’s important to draw a distinction between the movies that Hollywood makes and the cinema that comes out of Europe. Movies are commercial entertainment; cinema is an art form. Americans go to the movies, Europeans go to the cinema. Indeed, the word cinema comes from the French word cinématographe—the device invented by the Lumière brothers—which, in turn, comes from the Greek word “kinema”, or movement.
In that sense, Kinema Junpo—the long-running Japanese magazine specializing on the film industry—is a venerable institution. But the movies coming out of the Japanese film industry today are neither kinema nor cinema. Throughout this series on world cinema, we will also consider the place of Japanese cinema, and what its future holds.
ハリウッドとその他海外の映画産業の違いを象徴しているのが、“映画”を指す言葉です。ハリウッドが製作するのは“movies”(商業目的の映画、娯楽映画)であるのに対して、ヨーロッパなどで製作されるのは“cinema”(芸術作品としての映画)と表現されます。アメリカ英語では “let’s go to the movies”というのに対して、ヨーロッパでは “let’s go to the cinema” と言います。そもそも“cinema”はフランス語の“cinématographe”に由来しており、ルーツをたどるとギリシャ語で“動き”を意味する“kinema”がその語源です。映画のルーツはヨーロッパですが、映画文化をエンタメ・ビジネスとして発達させたのがアメリカなのです。