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National Film Industries and Films

Hollywood since the inseption of the movie industry at the turn-of-the 20th century has dominated cinema screens around the world. This contunued even with the introducgion of the talkies (1929-30) making language a critical factor in marketing films. Until World War II there were only a few other film industries of any importance, all based in Europe (Britain, France, and Germany). The Soviet Union had a large film industry, but marketed few films outsude the country as a resukt if both langiage and political constraibnts. Japan also develooed a domestic film industry, but the films wer rarely shown outside of Japan because of language. After World war II, we see film industrues growing in many other countres, but it was not until the 1990s that the fim industry in the Third World really took off. Here a major factor was the decision of many countries to end socialist ecinomic policies and adopt free market capitalist reforms. The result was explosive economic growth which has propelled billions of people into thevmoney economy and hundreds of millions into the middle class. And most of these new consumers wanted to see films. Major expenditures like cars and homes were a long term matter, but attending the movies was a purchase that was immediately possible. And will billions of new movie goers, the movie industry in countries around the globe began to expand. Bollywood in India is the most obvious example, but the same dymic is at play in many oyher countries. Another major development was the fall of Communism in Europe. The desintegration of the Soviet Empire followed by the disolution of the Sivuet Unuin itself unleshed constraints ion film making in many countries. HBC has created country movie pages. These pages have information about the national film indistry as well as individual films made in or about that country. HBC as compiled the following list films which we believe are particularly important films. We ave not included every film from the alphabetical list, but rater the fims we believe are particularly important. Hopefully our foreign readers will advise HBC as to which films should be put on their country's film list.

Africa

Unfortunately we know next to nothing about African movies and the movie industry. Abd for whatever reason, our website has attracted few African readers. There are a quite a few movies about Africa. The ones we know about, however, are all made by Americans abd Europeans with Americans and Europeans the main characters. One such film is 'Sammy going south'. Itvhas mostly European chsracters. The first ones wevknow about and rember seeing were the Tarzan films. Many films played up negative African stereotypes. More recent films have been more sympsthetic. One well done film is 'The Kitchen Toto'. One thought provoking animated series is the French Kirakou series. Nigeria has the largest film industry. An excellebt recent film is 'The littlke biy from heaven'. A 'Far off place' tiuches on the wildlife issue.

America, Latin

Language is a major factor in the movie industry. Small countries with a national language are unable to support a major film industry. Here Latin American film makers are fortunate as much of the region speaks Spanish. Other regions exceopt North America are bifercated into much smaller language zones. The major countries like Argentina and Mexico have the largest film industries, but even the small coubntries like the Central American and Caribbean countries can participate in the industry because their films can be shown throughout the refion as well as te growing United states market for Spanish-language media. The other major country, Brazil, has a much smaller foreign market in which its films can be destributed. Fortunately for Brazilian film makers, the domestic market is not only large, but increasingly affluent.

Argentina

HBC has only limited information on the Argentine film industry at this time. Most Latin American countries are noted for only a few important movies. Argentina is one of the three countries with a major film history (the others are Brazil and Mexico). The industry has, however, suffered over time from unstable governments and since the Peron era, an often weak economy. Various Argentine governments have shown some interest in a national film industry. Argentina in the first half of the 20th century had the most important film industry in Spanish-speaking Latin America. That imdustry by the 1980s have sharply declined as a result of the country' economic and political caos. The Government provided some support such as funding film profuction. These efforts were, however, did not counter the impact of economic decline, political caos, and repressive censorship instituted by military governments. Argentine film makers by the 1980s found it increasingly difficult to compete with foreign-made films. An Argentine reader has mentioned two relatively recent Argentine films: 'Chiquitas' and 'Kamchatka'.

Brazil

Brazil is a huge country. About half of Latin America in population, area, and national economic output is Brazil. Thus it is not surprising that Brazil has the the largest film industry in latin America. The domestic economy easily can support a film industry, even though there are few other Portuguese speaking countries. Unlike Argentina and Mexico, Brazilian Portuguese-languafe films can not be as easily marketed in the neighboring Spanish-speaking countries. The Brazilain film industry has received Government support as well as enjoying a roubust national market. The number of films produced was very limited throughout the 20th-century. Actually the Brazilian film industry was once among the most active in Latin America. Filmakes were hampered by Government economic policy,including devaluations, hyperinflation, and a range of shifting government policies. In many years no films were produced and in others only one film despite the karge dimestic market. As recently as 1991 only 2 films were made. That was about the same time that Brazilian officials noting the success of free market capitalist reforms in Chile adopted similar measures in Brazil. The result in two decades was the virtual remaking of Brazil. The film industry is just one of many Brazilian success stories. The growth of the film industry has been phenomenal. Brazilian studios produced 90 films (2008). The first Brazilian film we have noted is 'Meu P� de Laranja Lima' (1970). Perhaps the best known Brazilain film is Pixote (1981) about an inderprivlidged street urchin. It is a rather brutal, but powerful film about the life homeless street children face in Brazil. A HBC reader has provided information on another film, 'Central Station' (1998). An excellent recent film is 'Drifting' (2008).

Chile

We do not have any information on the Chilean film industry at this time. Chile is a relatively small South American country,but od course films madecin Spanish can be shown in the many other Spanish-speaking countries. We do note one Chilean film. 'Machuca' is set during the 1973 military coup which overthrew President Salvador Allende.

Cuba

Cuba has since the Revolution in 1959 developed a small film industry. Although Cuba has a very small population, state subsidies have enabled the country to develop a competent industry. Cuban films can also be marketed in other Spanish-speaking countries. The Cuban film industry has produced several poignent. memorable films.

Mexico

Mexico has a substantial film industry, but HBC has no information on Mexican films at this time. Large numbers of films are made in Mexico. Hopefully our Mexican readers will provide us some information.


Figure 1.--Hollywood ennerged as the movie capital of the World. Surely one reason fvor this was the huge American market. It has strong Euuropean competitors, especially Englans and Germany before the NAZIs seized power. The disaster of of the NAZIs World War II adversely affected the German film industry while refugees from NAZI persucution enriched Hollywood. The relative openess of American society as well as inventiveness of special affects helped to make Hollywood great. This is a scene from "Aunty Mame" which pokes fun at prejudice and provinionalism. Many countries would not permit a film like this to be made.

America, North

Hollywood ennerged as the movie capital of the World. Surely one reason fvor this was the huge American market. Religious groups were critical of the racy nature of early films. This resulted on restrictions being placed on film makers. The free market, however, placed a strong pull on film makers to meet the desires of movie goers which over time meant a steady liberalization of standards. Although Government officials are still wresting with the question as to what extent should artistic productions be regulated in a free society. Hollywood had strong European competitors, especially England and Germany before the NAZIs seized power. The disaster of of the NAZIs World War II adversely affected the German film industry while refugees from NAZI persucution enriched Hollywood. The relative openess of American society as well as inventiveness of special affects helped to make Hollywood great. This is a scene from "Aunty Mame" which pokes fun at prejudice and provinicialism. Many countries would not permit a film like this to be made. And it was in America that a film like "Dr. Zivago" was made because Communists authorities would not allow it to be made in the Soviet Union. American incentiveness had a major impact on film tecnique and special effects. And it is not accident that a film like "star Wars" appeared in the United States.

Canada

We have very little information on Canadian films at this time. Canada has a difficult task in building a national film industry in that successful directors and actors take off for Hollywood as soon as they develop a reputation. Soome head for Hollywood even before developing acreputation. We have noted a strong Canadian television industry, but we know very little about Canadian movies. We know few films not only made in Canada, but about Canada. One film we know of is "THe Kidnappers" (Scotland, 1954). It is set in Canada, but shot in Scotland and England. Hopefully our Canadian readers will provide us some information about Canadian films. One question we have is about Quenec. Are there any intering Quebec films with boy characters.

United States

One common theme in American movies during the 1930s-50s was that rich kids were spoiled and often dressed in fancy sissy clothes. Movies with that them included The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942), many productions of "Tom Sawyer" (the Sid character, and "Newly Rich" (1931). It was called "Forbidden Adventure" in the UK. "Newly Rich" is a good example of this genre. It is about Tim Tiffany, a poor boy who makes it big in Hollywood. He wears a velvet suit and broad white collar with ringlet curls throughout most of the movie. The basic plot is about two women who are constantly trying to one-up each other. Jackie's Mom takes him to Hollywood where they make it big in the movies. The other woman has a daughter about the same age portrayed by Mitzi Green. Basically, it's a comedy and Mitzi makes fun of Jackie when they revisit their small town with him all done up as "Tiny Tim". Jackie's not thrilled with his new attire, but he also knows it's the price he must pay for being in the movies. The picture was child actor Jackie Searl. Jackie was quite popular in movies during the 1930s, usually playing the part of a brat. He was born in 1920, he would have been about 11 years old at the time the film was made. Jackie also played young "Sid" in an early 30s version of "Tom Sawyer", so wearing fancy outfits was not uncommon for him.


Figure 2.--The Japanese boys in film generally appear in casual clothing, like this boy in an English movie about the son of a Japanese ambassador.

Asia

Much of Asia was European colonies until after World War II. Japan was the only country to have a significant film industry nrfore World War II. It was at the time the only industril country in Asia. We do not know much about the early film industry, but many films made in the 1930s were highly politicized to meet the desires oif the militarists taking power. After World War II, the other Asian countries gradually developed their own national film industries. Japanese movies were largely low-budget films and except for the monster films had little appeal outside Japan. The Communist in China developed a film industry, but was basically a propaganda outlet for the regime. Few people outside of China because of the heavt\y handed propaganda and the language saw Chinese films. We are unsure how film making has channged as a result of the ecomomic reforms. The greatest success in Asia has been Bollywood in India. The country's democratic society has allowed film makers to explore a range of topics and success has allowed Indian film makers to make technically high-quality productions. Some of the Billywood films are racey and they have been criticized by the country's conservitive religious communities (both Hindu and Muslim), While this poses a problem for film makers, but the industry seems to be sucessfully operating within the limits available to them. We know little about the film industries in the smaller Asian countries.

China

HBC has no information on Chinese movies yet. We do note that since the Revolution (1949) that the industry has been strongly supported and controlled by the Communist Government. No country of course has a larger domestic market than China. We have, however, little information on specific Chinese films. One French film noted by HBC sets part of the film in China. This provides some insights into the clothes worn by Chinese boys and their Young Pioneer uniforms. There is also the American-Italian made film, The Last Emperor (1987). Most Chinese films, especially those made before the 1980s, are virtually unknown to Western audiences.

India

India has one of the world's largest and most vibrant film industries. India's large population offers a strong market for the industry's output. HBC has, however, little information on the industry. We do know of a few specific Indian films. Hoefully our Indian readers will provide some information.

Japan

HBC has little information on the Japanese film industry and Japanese films. Hopefully a Japanese reader will provide some information to us. The various Godzilla film, have been widely shown on American television and they often have roles for children in which the boys usually wear the short short pants so popular beginning in the 1950s. In a few instances there are also parts for American boys who always wear long pants--often jeans. Occasionally the Japanese boys appear in traditional clothing. There are also some American and other foreign films set in Japan.

Korea

HBC has no information on Korean films at this time. Surely there are some, both North and South Koraen. We know nothing about the Korean film industry at this time. Hopefully our Korean readers will provide us some information.


Figure 3.--This Belgian film appears to show school fashions in the 1940s after the end of World War II. It appears to be a catholic boarding school. All the children wear short pants and smocks.

Europe

Europe had all the prerequisites for a major film industry. There were several rich countries with the technical and financial capability needed for a major film industry. And there was not shortage of talent. And film industries did develop in Europe. Duruing the 1920s after World war I. Films could be easily show throughout Europe no matter where they were mase. This changed with the advent of the Talkies in the 1930s. European film makers have since been handicapped by language. There was no lack of talent in Europe and many countries had relatively open smarket was primarily limited to the national market. This was because most countries with a few exceptions (Austria, Belgium and Switzerland) developed their own national language. And small countries had difficulty generating the capital needed for a major production. The larger countries (England, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia) had important industries, but could not compete with Hollywood in the technical quality of the productions. Many countries had to restruct vthe showsing of American films to ensure that locally produced films would be shown in theaters. The German ibdustry was devestated by Wotld War II. French films tended to be "talky" which did not come over well when viewed by non-French speakers. Russian films until the 1970s were pedantic ideological productions and rarely shown outside the Soviet Union. After World War II we begin to see international productions, but language continued to be a difficicult problem to oversome.

Middle East and North Africa

Movie making in the Middle East and North Africa is strongly influenced by Islam. Movie makers in these countries have to be careful not to criticize the Koran and Islam in any way. There are also dangers of criticizing conventions in conservative societies, even if not specifically condoned by the Koran. Muslim countries have also attempted to restrict criticism of Islam in Western movies and other media outlets. Another limitation is the authoritariam dictatorial, and theocratic regimes which dominant the area. Theis removes social and political criticism from possible Movie treatment. All mof this means that the Muslim film maker is much more limited than Western film makers. The same is true of Muslim authors, but unlike movies, books can be easily written in Western countries where some creative people seek refuge. The Nuslim countries are trenendiously diverse and thus the restrictions vary from country to country. The great wealth generated by oil exports means that capital is now available in the area to make movies and the educational system means that there technical capabilities are increasingly available.

Morocco

We know nothing about Moroccan films at this time. We do know of one film made about Morocco--'The Wind and the Lion' (1975).

Palestine

We know of no film activity in Palestine during the Ottoman era. We notice some activity durig the Nritish Mandate era. The British Mandate Goverment set up the Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS) in Jerusalem. The PBS Arab Division, Ajaj Nuwayhid, was one of the founders of the nationalist Independence Party (Hizb al-Istiqlal). He sought an obtained considerable autonomy for the Arabic-language programing. The PBS appears to have also been involved in movies, at least with approving and to some extent showing British and foreign films. There apparently was a Palestinian Radio and Film Authority which may have been another name for PBS. The first Palestinian made filns were documentries. The first known Palestinian film is believed to be a documentary on King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia�s visit (1935). It was made made by Ibrahim Hassan Sirhan who was based in Jaffa. It was a silent movie that was presented at the Nabi Rubin festivals. Sirhan then joined with Jamal al-Asphar to produce a 45-minute film, 'The Realized Dreams' about orphans. Sirhan and al-Asphar also produced another documentary about Ahmad Hilmi Pasha, a member of the Higher Arab Commission. Sirhan established the Arab Film Company production studio together with Ahmad Hilmi al-Kilani (1945). The company ptoduced the feature film 'Holiday Eve' and then 'A Storm at Home'. Both films were lost when Sirhan fled Jaffa during the First Arab-Israeli War (1948). As a result of the War, the nacent Palistinian fil industry would tke years to revover.

Turkey

HBC has very little information about Turkish films at this time. Turkish films often show children wearing the black or blue smocks and white collars that the schools require.

Qatar

We do not know much about the Qatari film industry at this time. A reader from Qatar has provided us information on the Gulf Film Festival in 2009. The Festival highligts Arab-language films made in the Gulf states and other Arab countries. We do not know if the Gulf Film Festival is always held in Qatar.

Oceania

There have been countless films made about Oceania, especially the South Pacific. Fewer films have been made by countries in the area. We have some information on Australia and New Zealand. We do not know much about Indinesia and the Philippines, both of which have vibrant film industries.

Australia

HBC has noted several Australian films of interest, but at this time can not recall the titles. Perhaps the most famous is Walkabout which shows a brother and sister in school uniforms. Another film is set at a state school in a rural area. It is a coming of age film set around a studious boy and a girl he has grown up with and the town delinquent. Many of the boys at his high school, including the boys picking on him wear short pants.

New Zealand

HBC has little information about New Zealand films. New Zealand has only a small population, but we have seen a few film and there is a local film industry. Fortunately for New Zealand, the principal langage is English which means that their films can be marketed in larger markets such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.







HBC






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Created: January 21, 2001
Last updated: 12:05 PM 11/8/2017