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Understanding World Cinema

vikiwalden | Sunday October 23, 2011

Categories: A Level, Films & Case Studies, World Cinema, Hot Entries


This guide is designed to cover the main issues regarding teaching World Cinema for the WJEC A2 in Film Studies for FM4: Varieties of Film Experience - Issues and Debates (Section A) and to explain what is likely to be asked of students in the examination.

The topics currently available for examination are:

(a) Aspects of a National Cinema

  • Bollywood, 1990 – present
  • Iranian Cinema, 1990 – present
  • Japanese Cinema, 1950 – 1970
  • Mexican Cinema, 1990 – present

(b) International Film Styles

  • German and/or Soviet Cinema of the 1920s
  • Surrealism
  • Neo-Realism
  • New Waves

(c) Specialist Study 1: Urban Stories - Power, Poverty and Conflict

(d) Specialist Study 2: Empowering Women

Centres should select one of the possible topic areas and focus on 2 main texts, alongside 2 subsidiary ones. Students should be advised that there are a choice of two questions in the exam; one usually concentrates specifically on context and themes, whilst the other on micro elements. However, clearly, each question requires students to discuss the link between both.

Whilst the AS concentrates on American and British cinema, the A2 requires students to look beyond their usual cinema-going and explore films from other cultures. Therefore, unlike GCSE for which British films are considered ‘World Cinema’, films should be selected from further afield.

Why Do We Study World Cinema?

Despite Hollywood’s dominance, it did not gain this position without influence from foreign filmmakers. Many of the film styles and movements selected for FM4 have heavily influenced Hollywood and the international film market. The rules of editing were developed by the Soviet Filmmakers of the 1920s; many of the German Expressionist filmmakers fled Germany with the rise of National Socialism and went on to influence the Universal Horror and Film Noir styles in Hollywood; Japanese film master Akira Kurosawa is often quoted as the inspiration for contemporary Hollywood directors;...

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