Since World War I, French cinema has defined itself through its ambivalent relations with Hollywood cinema. Although French cinema was the dominant force in the international market until World War I, its influence extending as far as Australia, in the decades that followed the industry struggled to maintain its hold on French audiences. French stars, valued for their independence and their ability to represent "Frenchness" globally, have played an important role in this crusade. Though many would argue that this has been a losing battle, French product continues to dominate French screens, though, as often as not, it is the television screen that viewers watch today. Yet, initially, it was the French who discovered cinema as we know it.

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