The Study of National Cinema

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The study of national cinema and the way in which its defined has been a topic of discussion that many scholars have debated. Stephen Crofts ‘Concepts of National Cinema,’ Susan Hayward’s ‘Reframing National Cinema’ and Andrew Higson’s ‘Limiting the imagination of National Cinema’ attempt to define the tricky boundaries of what the term national cinema means and the impacts it has on the way in which audiences perceive these types of films.

One of the key areas of debate in the discussion is determining what the idea of nationalism and the nation-state mean in a world that is becoming globalised. Crofts uses Anderson’s concept of ‘imagined communities, ’ which alludes to the idea of an individual having their own image of their affinity to their nation, to build upon his notion that due to the increasing hybrdity of modern culture there is now a “growing lack of congruence between nations and states. ” This prompts Crofts to refer to national cinema as nation-state cinema. In contrast to Crofts publication, Hayward develops a more complex approach to the ideas of nation and culture. She calls upon a host of works including that of Anderson to develop a set of “rubrics” for framing national cinema into her three key words “history-masquerade-symbolism. ” Hayward furthers Crofts idea of the nation-state by defining the reasons for hyphenating the word. The nation Hayward sees as a cultural society or the ‘motherland’ that an individual feels an identification with. The state however is a political sovereign body, which this ‘national’ community must obey to. The two words together in the view of both Hayward and Crofts is appropriate when analysing national cinema.

Whilst both authors devote attention to the importance of defining the idea of a nation and nationalism, Crofts and Hayward present different focuses in summarising the key concepts of national cinema. Crofts outlines the major elements that constitute world cinema, from European-model art...
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