World Cinema – Part 2: Crash Course Film History #15

World Cinema – Part 2: Crash Course Film History #15


Films can be a lot of things: A form of mass
communication; a means of personal expression; or a business, big or small… depending on
how many superheroes you cram into one movie. But films can also create, clarify, or reinforce
a national identity. In many places outside of the United States
and Europe, cinema arrived relatively late, and often at a time of political upheaval. Filmmakers used their movies to tell their
own stories and establish new, collective identities. Although the industries of Africa, South America,
and the Middle East relatively small, these films and filmmakers are
vitally important both to local audiences and to the diversity of world cinema. [Opening Music Plays] African cinema is generally divided between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The biggest film producer in North Africa
is Egypt, and Egyptian cinema has dominated the Arab world for decades. Egyptian cinema’s “golden age” ran from
the 1940s to the 1960s. In this era, the studios produced Hollywood-style
genre movies and prestige dramas. In 1952, the Egyptian monarchy was overthrown,
and a new military regime was ushered in by a charismatic leader, Gamal Abdel
Nasser. Nasser’s government nationalized the film
industry in 1966 and began exercising significant control over what movies got made. Many filmmakers felt stifled, unable to produce
films even vaguely critical of the current regime. But Egyptian filmmakers still found ways to
produce classics at the time, from Al Haram by Henry Barakat to Shadi Abdel Salam’s
The Night of Counting the Years. In the 1970s, Egyptian cinema began to find
a balance between politics and entertainment. And during this time, their first internationally-recognized
director emerged. Youssef Chahine was born
in 1926. After college, he convinced his parents to
send him to Hollywood to study acting. He then returned to Egypt and directed his
first feature film at just 23, a movie called Daddy Amin… who said actors can’t direct? His second film, Nile Boy, was invited to
the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. And his third, The Blazing Sun, introduced
the world to Omar Sharif, an actor who would go on to international stardom in English
language films like Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. But Chahine’s major achievement was an autobiographical trilogy, made between 1978 and 1990, which traced the social history of modern Egypt. In the 1980s, as government censors relaxed
a bit, several women directors graduated from the Egyptian Film Institute and began making
movies with explicitly feminist themes. This marked a new and vital phase of Egyptian
production, as Asmaa El-Bakry directed 1991’s Beggars and Proud Ones
and Inas Al-Degheidy released Lady Killers the following year. The Gulf War in 1991 and the emergence of
satellite television brought the Egyptian film industry to a near-standstill. But by the mid-2000s, domestic production
had rebounded and continues to thrive to this day. Algeria is home to another significant North
African film industry. After a vicious war and winning their independence
from France in 1962, Algerian movies were mostly what they called “freedom-fighter
cinema.” These were films about the struggle to escape
colonial rule. It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that
an Algerian film broke out onto the world stage. Mohammed Lakdar-Hamima’s Chronicle of the
Years of Fire depicted one family’s epic journey through the end of the colonial period. The film won the Grand Prix at the Cannes
Film Festival in 1975. Beginning in 1992, a militant Islamic insurgency
took root in Algeria, and the ensuing violence has forced most Algerian filmmakers to live
and work abroad. Many contemporary films focus on characters
that have left Algeria and struggle with their identities as expatriates. Rachid Bouchareb’s 2010 film Outside the Law, for instance, deals with three Algerian brothers living in France
between 1945 and 1962, during the Algerian war for independence. Now, one notable film-producing country in
sub-Saharan Africa is Senegal, another former French colony. And the undisputed father of Senegalese film
is Ousmane Sembène. A veteran of World War II, Sembène moved to France in 1947 and experienced racism while
working in a car factory and at the shipping port of Marseille. He turned these experiences into his first French-language novel, The Black Docker, in
1956. And he would return time and again to themes
of isolation, persecution, and loss of identity in his films. After studying filmmaking in the Soviet Union,
Sembène returned to Senegal to make a twenty-minute short called Borom Sarret in 1963, commonly
considered the first indigenous black African film. Sembène’s next film, Black Girl, stands
as one of the first anti-colonial films to come out of Africa and gain international
recognition. The story follows a young Senegalese woman
working as a nanny for a French family in the capital city of Dakar. After accepting an offer to return to France
with them, she finds herself disrespected and abused, surrounded by a culture that refuses
to accept her. And at the end of the film, her story ends
in tragedy. Sembène would go on to make films right up
to his death in 2007, wrestling with complex issues of identity and culture in colonial
and post-colonial Africa. Other African countries have their own vibrant
filmmaking traditions. Angola established a film school in 1977,
two years after it won independence from Portugal. The country of Burkina Faso is home to the
Pan-African Festival of Cinema and Television, the largest African film event in the world. And Nigeria has a vital film culture with
its own star system, making it the third most valuable film industry in the world. Now, another region that boasts a long history
of post-colonial and indigenous cinema is Latin America. Although many Latin American film industries
have been dominated by films from the United States, Cuba and Brazil have maintained some
autonomy. Cuba produced about 150 feature films prior
to the Cuban Revolution in 1959. But almost immediately after Fidel Castro
took over, the film industry became an arm of his government. He founded a national film institute and commissioned
films through the National Board of Culture. Like many leaders before him, Castro understood
the power cinema had to influence masses of people, many of whom were poor and illiterate. Most established filmmakers fled or were pushed
out, so the revolutionary era of Cuban cinema began with a handful of people with little
filmmaking experience and some old equipment. Over the next two decades, they would produce
over 100 feature films, 900 documentary shorts, and 1,300 weekly newsreels. That’s a lot of content! By the 1970s, Cuban cinema’s infrastructure
of domestic production and distribution were in place, and the films got more sophisticated. Genres and styles multiplied, encompassing everything from Sergio Giral’s experimental Marxist work The Other
Francisco, to Sara Gómez’s One Way or Another, a fusion of Hollywood style and avant-garde social critique. But the 1990s hit Cuban cinema hard. With the fall of communism in Europe, Castro’s
government had few allies besides China and North Korea. Movie production fell off a cliff, dropping
from about 10 feature films per year to just two or three. And political repression got worse, so many
filmmakers left the country to live in exile throughout Latin America. Eventually, a combination of factors led to
a resurgence of film production in Cuba: like digital technology making production less
expensive, coupled with relaxing tensions with the United States. Now, the other major Latin American film industry
hails from Brazil. In 1924, the majority of films screened in
Brazil came from Hollywood, like the rest of Latin America. President Getùlio Vargas tried to end the
dominance of Hollywood cinema by establishing quotas for local film production in 1932,
which continued into the 1950s. But that didn’t do much. The highly charged political atmosphere of
the 1960s was the real catalyst for change. Inspired by the aesthetic of the Italian Neo-Realists
and the low-budget filmmaking techniques of the French New Wave, a group of Brazilian
filmmakers created cinema novo or new cinema. The cinema novo directors made films that
deliberately subverted the norms of classical narrative cinema, in direct response to what
they saw as the colonization of Brazilian cinema by Hollywood. The group’s unofficial leader, Glauber Rocha,
made Black God, White Devil in 1964. It’s about a poor ranch hand who’s cheated
out of his wages, kills his boss, and goes on the run with his wife and a violent, apocalyptic
preacher. There’s a fearlessness to the film, and
a rejection of a traditional moral code. Nelson Pereira dos Santos made Barren Lives in 1963, another key film in the early cinema novo movement,
and one invited to the Cannes Film Festival. His film tells the story of an impoverished
family trying to survive in Brazil’s drought-ridden northeastern plain. This focus on low-budget productions that
examine the socio-political landscape caught on in other Latin American countries. Indigenous filmmakers found inspiration to
tell their stories without relying on traditional film studios or government assistance. And while their films might not screen much
internationally, filmmakers from Argentina and Chile to Colombia and Peru have used this
model to forge their own cinematic identities. Now, one of the major players in Middle
Eastern cinema is Iran, whose domestic market was also dominated by U.S. movies for years,
until the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The first Iranian-produced film to break out
internationally was Dariush Mehrjui’s 1969 film The Cow, telling the story
of a rural villager whose prized cow dies. Mehrjui’s film was banned by the pre-revolutionary
Iranian government. They wanted films that would project a modern
image to the rest of the world, not ones that examined the day-to-day life of the downtrodden. Nevertheless, The Cow went on to win top prizes
at the Chicago and Venice Film Festivals and set the template for the Iranian New Wave. Much like the French New Wave and Brazil’s
cinema novo, the Iranian New Wave produced films that explored the lives of ordinary
people, especially those facing hardship and persecution. After the Revolution, the government of Ayatollah Khomeini exercised strict theocratic censorship over
Iranian film, decimating production and prompting many established filmmakers to flee the country. The Iranian film industry finally began to
recover in the 1990s, as filmmakers fell into two main camps: the “populist cinema”
that made commercial entertainment; and the “art cinema” that produced more personal,
esoteric films. One of the major figures of recent Iranian
cinema is Abbas Kiarostami, whose film A Taste of Cherry won the top prize at the Cannes
Film Festival in 1997. Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s 2001
film Kandahar made a Time magazine list of the top 100 movies of all time. And Asghar Farhadi has
won two Best Foreign Language Oscars for his elliptical domestic mysteries: A Separation
from 2011, and The Salesman from 2016. So although post-Revolution Iranian cinema
took a while to achieve serious global recognition, it has since emerged as a narrative and stylistic
innovator on the world cinema stage, influencing filmmakers and inspiring filmgoers around
the globe. Today we explored more world cinema, beginning
with the post-colonial cinema of Africa. We talked about the development of Latin American
cinema through the lens of Cuba and Brazil. And we touched on the vital filmmaking tradition
of Iran established during the last 25 years. Next time, we’ll jump into the strange and
exciting world of experimental and documentary filmmaking. It’s gonna get weird… and real! Crash Course Film History is produced in association
with PBS Digital Studios. You can head over to their channel to check
out a playlist of their latest amazing shows, like It’s Okay to be Smart, PBS Idea Channel, and Deep Look. This episode of Crash Course was filmed in
the Doctor Cheryl C. Kinney Crash Course Studio with the help of these nice Cannes Grand Prixs and our
amazing graphics team is Thought Cafe.

100 thoughts on “World Cinema – Part 2: Crash Course Film History #15

  1. How could you forget to talk about Mexican and Argentinian films! Movies (and also literature) in Latin America are mostly either costumbrista (costumbrist(?) ), showing the life and struggles of each country, showing the world what the've got or antigovernmental, showing the corruption and problems caused by government and post-colonial influence of Spain and the US. For me some of the best films of different countries are, "Un mundo maravilloso" (Mexico), "Historias Salvajes" (Argentina), and "El Regreso" (Costa Rica). I imagine the rest of the other regions have the same problem, but I can only talk from what I know. Please dive more into them, there is so much more to learn than "there are movies in this piece of land".

  2. How could you talk about African Cinema and just brush over Nigerian Cinema. It's one of the largest in the world.

  3. No mention of Nollywood?! I'm appalled, I demand a part three to remedy this error.

    Oh and for anyone interested in learning a bit more about Iranian New Wave films I recommend Kyle Kallgreen's video essay on Jahar Panahi's This Is Not A Film

  4. I was expecting Tunisian cinema to be among the mentioned, as i think it is the most experimental, avant gardiste and "free" in North Africa & the middle east. And it's amongst the oldest as it has been present since 1896, when the Lumière brothers began showing animated films in the streets of Tunis.
    …it's "cinema d'auteur" kind of cinema.
    But hey.. it's a nice video anyway !

  5. The night of counting the years (The Mummy) is my favorite film of all time! Glad it got a mention because there's nothing else like it. Made by painter and intellectual Shady Abd El-Salam, each frame in that movie is goddamn poetry! It's available on youtube if anyone is interested (albeit, in a low quality).

  6. A Separation is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. The people are complex, the feelings are complex, the morality is complex. It's riveting and unforgettable.

  7. 8:49 – elliptical? Did I mishear that? What does it mean in this context? (The subtitles say elliptical too…)

  8. You skipped Mexican cinema, a huge industry before the 1950s and a crucial cultural influence for all of Latin America.

  9. This is one of those fantastic episodes where you leave thinking "well, my to-watch list just doubled, and in a direction I barely knew existed."
    Thanks for the awesomeness, CrashCourse!

  10. ,Hey you didn't do Oceania, NZ and Oz are pretty massive powerhouses in modern cinema and are quite different to US stuff

  11. Every comment section on these videos is going to complain that you didn't talk enough about a certain country, and later that you didn't mention a certain film.

  12. I would like to add Malaya film industry- specifically referring to SIngapore and Malaysia- into the topic of World cinema. Especially the movies created by P. Ramlee, whose talents in directing,producing, singing, acting (both serious and comedic), songwriting, composing and as well regarded musician makes him irreplaceable entertainer, who are taken way too early and disregarded by the industry he help built at the end of his life. Those who never watched his movies, may I suggest any of the bujang lapok series(for comedy) or anakku sazali (for more serious fair), if you can find the eng sub

  13. You must comment about "Paradise Now" next time. Fits the theme. (think that's the correct title. If not excuse me.)

  14. Don't be fooled. While this channel provides a lot of useful information. There is a very pronounced globalist/diversity/liberal agenda at play here.

  15. I'm sad you didn't mention mexican movies from the 40s and 50s, they may not be very well known in Europe or the US, but they are very popular in all of Latin America, and the movies and the actors are still part of the popular culture to this day, everyone knows what happened to Torito, everyone knows what "Cantinflear" is

  16. I died at 0:10. Combining DC and Marvel superheroes is FORBIDDEN as they are owned by two different companies.

  17. Uhm, I am kind of pissed Mexican cinema isn't here
    Maybe production has declined recently, yeah, but the Golden Era of the 30s to the 70s was massive

  18. Yeah, South America? The biggest film producer, distributor and innovator by far in Latin America is Mexico. So skipping Mexico in this episode is very weird. The narrator should've said that he was going to concentrate on "Latin America" instead of "South America" so he would be able to talk about Mexico's enormous film industry.

  19. This is a terribly disorganized and badly researched Crash Course episode. I expected better. First, Nigeria's film industry is like, 50% to 75% of ALL OF AFRICA'S film industry. But it wasn't even explored, much less referenced–it's known as "Nollywood". Then the weird emphasis on Cuba while nations like Mexico (see my comment below), Argentina and Chile that have had far more sophisticated and long-established film industries were totally ignored. Then they ignored Turkey completely, which is the third major nation in the Middle East to produce great cinema–along with Egypt and Iran.

  20. Does someone else hates when people from the USA divide the continent of America trying to separate from "Latin America" I mean really? We all all Americans

  21. … Just a quick mention of Argentina. I'm disappointed :c We have two Oscar winning movies and others got nominated several times.

    Also no Mexican cinema. I would say that one is also pretty relevant.

  22. Another great video. But also I'd like to hear about russian and especially soviet film industry. It has an amount of significant films imo.

  23. I know this episode was about cinema outside of Europe, but as a swede, I'm a little sad that Ingmar Bergman hasn't been mentioned yet in any episode. For those who think that they dont know who Bergman is, I'll just say this; he made that movie where a guy plays chess with the Grim Reaper. That's probably a scene that everyone in the world knows, even if they dont know anything about artsy old swedish cinema. XD

  24. Did I miss Mexico? There are some important movies, directors, actors, genres from Mexico …

  25. Considering the fact that Nigeria has the 3rd largest movie industry in the world currently. I'd imagine it would have gotten a bit more airtime

  26. @CrashCourse Would be really great if you would post a list of all the key movies named in this series, maybe tagged or sorted by their genre, period, something like that! Maybe an IMDb list!

  27. I like how at the end you say "today we explored" instead of "today you learned", which always felt really patronizing on some other crash course channels.

  28. Next week : How did we develop language and not by using Greek words I think it goes farther back than the Greek.

  29. "World cinema" is a horrible term. Everything that's not made in Hollywood is World cinema? What about the thousands of foreign artists who went to the United States to escape WW2? Do they represent World cinema?
    Cinema has no defined language or country.

  30. Thought you were gonna mention more recent Brazilian movies and directors, such as City of God and Fernando Meirelles. Regardless, good job pronouncing the names, Craig. Not perfect, obviously, but much better than I was expecting.

  31. But Cuba and Brazil are completely out of the Latin American mainstream… o.0

    Argentina and Mexico? Definitely Iñarritu.

    I assume that you're going to cover Europe, Germans, Scandanavians, and Almodóvar at a later date.

    You definitely glossed over Nollywood pretty quickly too, although they haven't created much of critical note.

    District 9, however…

    Russian, Turkish and Korean cinema are also noteworthy as styles that get emulated/dominate regionally , and get exported to Central Asia a lot. When Russian films go deep, they are often amazing. Andrey Zvyagintsev's films are gorgeous.

    Eventually you need to mention Terrance Malick also. 🙂

  32. I noticed you kept calling directors and actors from Africa and Latin America "indigenous". What makes them "indigenous" and not directors from America, France, or Italy?

  33. Majid Majidi's "The Willow Tree" is a remarkable Iranian film about a blind man. It moves slowly so you really feel with the main character.

  34. Cinema of Iran keeps going in a bright way by Vahid Jalilvand and Asghar Farhadi. Another young generation are coming…

  35. I need some help.. I am creating a powerpoint on the history of movies and it is going to be just a summary. You made so many videos the history of movies. Which one would you recommend for me to further my research? @Crashcourse

  36. FYI Cannes is pronounced "can." Likes "yes we can." There's another town in Northern France, Caen, pronounced more like "cahn."

  37. Since we are talking about the Cinema Novo movement, I would like to recommend "O Pagador de Promessas" (Keeper of Promises), a 1962 film about a farmer who, in order to fulfill a promise he made to a saint called Santa Bárbara, carries a huge cross on his back from one side of Salvador to another. It deals with themes such as religion, poverty, journalism, sensationalism, corruption and the loss of innocence. It kind of resumes a series of common events in Brazilians day to day life in a nutshell. Some scenes made me think of Aronofsky's Mother. I highly recommend it in case someone got interested in our Cinema.

  38. Please make more videos! This course was extremely (in)formative, I just wish the videos were longer to explore more details and give us more movie recommendations. Thank you for the content!!

  39. The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema is not presented as they has a very productive period in the 1930s and 1940s with big stars like Maria Felix.

  40. The attempt to say brazilian names is hilarious, though it's a full delight to be recognized and mentioned.

  41. What about North American Indigenous film? It seems as though Crash Course ignores the contributions of North American nations to Art, Science, film…etc

    I'm not trying to take away from what this channel has accomplished, just pointing out a blind spot.

  42. Crash course cinema is amazing and have watched the videos several times over. I have learned so much and had so much fun doing it. I do wish the independent film section was long with such great directors but still fantastic. Bravo! Bravo! Standing ovation and eagle punch

  43. Mexico and Argentina had enormous movies industries going back the 1910s through the early 1960s. The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema produced the Ranchero and Rumbera Musicals that we’re extremely popular throughout Latin America. Argentina film industry produced sophisticated light-hearted romantic comedies. As well as, period dramas, gaucho and religious theme epics. Many Mexican and Latin American actors came to Hollywood to work such as Dolores del Rio, Pedro Armendariz, Katy Jurado, Fernando Lamas and Cantiflas to name a few.

  44. Despite being Cuban, I had little to no knowledge about Cuban cinema

    edit: Ah it makes sense now. I was born in the 90s, the same decade Cuban cinema declined

  45. Turkish cinema is worth mentioning. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's films were big hits at Cannes Film Festivals.

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