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Teaching GCSE Non-Hollywood Film

nicoleponsford | Thursday November 10, 2011

Categories: GCSE, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, Hot Entries


This guide is designed to cover the main issues regarding teaching Non-Hollywood Film for the WJEC GCSE in Film Studies for Paper 2 Exploring Film outside Hollywood and to explain what is likely to be asked of students in the examination.

The texts currently available for assessment are:

Amélie (France), Bend it Like Beckham (UK), Goodbye Lenin (Germany), Ratcatcher (UK), Spirited Away (Japan), The Devil’s Backbone (Spain), Whale Rider (New Zealand) and Yasmin (UK).

Why do we study Non-Hollywood Film?

Whilst Hollywood dominates across the world, the major studios produce formulaic films with global themes and fairy tale narratives; whilst these films appeal to the international market they reinforce American values. As we have seen from Paper 1, these films are not just mindless entertainment but do have ideological messages, it would be problematic if there were no other voices in global cinema to counter these ideological messages with other perspectives of the world.

No indigenous cinema has been able to compete with Hollywood, except the Bollywood market in India; instead of attempting to make high concept spectaculars filmmakers from other countries have been introspective. For them, film has become art or a platform for expressing national identity, and with that national issues and concerns.  Therefore studying Non-Hollywood films allows us to see film in a different light, we begin to identify:

  • Film as an art form: we can see different art movements across the history of film
  • Auteur signatures: Auteur literally means “artist?, unlike Hollywood where the artistic voice of the Director is often supressed, the independent film industries abroad allow Director’s to develop signature styles which merge their artistic tendencies with their influences and life experiences.
  • Film as a cultural signifier: we can begin to understand the history and cultural identity of different countries through their films. Whilst we may...

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