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228 × 133 mm
480 pages
20 illustrations
01 Feb 2003

Cinemas of the World Film and Society from 1895 to the Present James Chapman

The cinema has been the pre-eminent popular art form of the twentieth century. In Cinemas of the World, James Chapman examines the relationship between film and society in the modern world: film as entertainment medium, film as a reflection of national cultures and preoccupations, film as an instrument of propaganda. He also explores two interrelated issues that have recurred throughout the history of cinema: the economic and cultural hegemony of Hollywood on the one hand, and, on the other, the attempts of film-makers elsewhere to establish indigenous national cinemas drawing on their own cultures and societies.

Chapman examines the rise to dominance of Hollywood cinema in the silent and early sound periods. He discusses the characteristic themes of American movies from the Depression to the end of the Cold War especially those found in the western and film noir – genres that are often used as vehicles for exploring issues central to us society and politics. He looks at national cinemas in various European countries in the period between the end of the First World War and the end of the Second, which all exhibit the formal and aesthetic properties of modernism. The emergence of the so-called ‘new cinemas’ of Europe and the wider world since 1960 are also explored.

‘Chapman is a tough-thinking, original writer . . . an engaging, excellent piece of work.’ – David Lancaster, Film and History

‘fascinating . . . [Chapman’s] style is easy and transparent, his cultural history expertly sifted and coherently presented . . . Cinema’s reach is truly global, and Chapman’s comparative survey does ample justice to its magnitude’ – The Times

‘By bringing together often disparate strands of published knowledge into a cohesive synthesis, and by adding his own perceptive observations and analysis, Dr Chapman has conjured up a valuable and unique addition to the literature of world cinema’ – Sesame

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James Chapman is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Leicester. He is the author of The British at War: Cinema, State and Propaganda, 1939-1945 (1998), Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films (1999) and War and Film (Reaktion Books, 2007).