The term "critic" is often applied very loosely, signifying little more than "a person who writes about the arts." It can be defined more precisely by distinguishing it from related terms with which it is often fused (and confused): reviewer, scholar, theorist. The distinction can never be complete, as the critic exists in overlapping relationships with all three, but it is nonetheless important that it be made.


Cuba is an anomaly in the history of Latin American cinema. Cuban film history is the story of a formerly quiet and docile little film industry that experienced a sudden and explosive acceleration of production after the revolution in 1959.

Cult Films

The phrase "cult movie" is now used so often and so broadly that the concept to which it refers has become rather difficult to delimit, especially given the sheer diversity of films that have been brought together under the term. Though cult movies are often referred to as if they were a very specific and particular genre, this is not the case; such films fall into an enormous variety of different formal and stylistic categories.


Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918 following the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. The Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia had been ruled from Vienna while Slovakia had formed part of Hungary.


The arts of movement and of the moving image have coexisted since the late 19th century. They fill each other's most important needs.


For a thousand years, Denmark has been an independent kingdom. Since 1849 it has been ruled with a democratic constitution and for over a century has enjoyed a generally peaceful history.


Cinematic dialogue is oral speech between fictional characters. This distinguishes dialogue from other types of cinematic language such as voice-over narration, internal monologue, or documentary interviews, which have different characteristics.

Diasporic Cinema

The word "diaspora" is derived from the Greek word diasperien. It denotes the dispersion of a population group or community of people from their country of birth or origin.


The opening credit sequence of contemporary American films typically proclaim that the ensuing work is "a film by" a particular director. This assertive title is both an acknowledgment of professional responsibility (that the creative process is led by a central administrative figure) and an authorial intention (that the work in question is the product of a single, creative individual).

Disaster Films

Naturally, the disaster film began by accident. When Georges Méliès (1861–1938) jammed his camera and a bus inexplicably turned into a hearse, the accidental merging of two documentary images created the spectacle of disaster.


In the film industry, distribution is the intermediary between production and exhibition and involves the following functions: sales, that is, the securing of rental contracts for specific play dates; advertising directed to theaters through trade publications and to filmgoers through the print and electronic media; the physical delivery of prints to theaters; and the method of release. New York City, the media and communications capital of the country, has served as the distributing center of the industry throughout most of its history.


Documentary exploits the camera's affinity for recording the surface of things, what the realist film theorist Siegfried Kracauer called the "affinity" of film as a photographic medium for capturing "life in the raw." Even before the invention of motion pictures, photographers of the nineteenth century, such as Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), with his "animal locomotion" series, demonstrated the extent to which the camera might reveal facts and details of the world to us that we could not perceive with the naked eye.

Dubbing and Subtitling

Dubbing and subtitling are two major types of screen translation, the two most used in the global distribution and consumption of filmic media. Since their arrival with the introduction of sound to cinema, both have been seen as compromised methods of translating dialogue because they interfere in different ways with the original text, sound track, or image.

Early Cinema

Emerging at the tail end of the nineteenth century, cinema owed its existence as a technological invention to key developments in motion study and optics, and, as a visual novelty to traditions of screened entertainment. The medium would soon shed its affiliation with science when its potential for widespread commercial success became more apparent, facilitating its entry into the mainstream of twentieth-century popular culture.


Editing is a postproduction phase of filmmaking that begins following the completion of principal cinematography. An editor (and his or her team of assistant editors) works in close collaboration with the film's director and producer.


The history of Egyptian cinema is long and varied. From modest beginnings with the projection of Lumière shorts in the Tousson Pasha hall of Alexandria and the Hammam Schneider baths of Cairo in 1896, film was transformed from an exclusively foreign import for the foreign elite into a national industry by the 1940s.

Epic Films

Like "musical," "comedy," "war film," and "Western," "epic" is a term used by Hollywood and its publicists, by reviewers, and by academic writers to identify a particular type of film. It was first used extensively in the 1910s and the 1920s: Variety's review of Ben-Hur (1925) noted that "the word epic has been applied to pictures time and again" (6 January 1926: 38).


Exhibition is the retail branch of the film industry. It involves not the production or the distribution of motion pictures, but their public screening, usually for paying customers in a site devoted to such screenings, the movie theater.

Experimental Film

Experimental films are very different from feature-length Hollywood fiction films. In Mothlight (1963), Stan Brakhage (1933–2003) completely avoids "normal" filmmaking (he doesn't even use a camera) by sprinkling seeds, grass, dead moths, and bee parts directly onto the film stock; the result is a three-minute rhythmic "dance" between nature and the projector mechanism.

Exploitation Films

Exploitation movies have been a part of the motion picture industry since its earliest days. The term "exploitation movie" initially referred to any film that required exploitation or ballyhoo over and above the usual posters, trailers, and newspaper advertising.


The term expressionism has been abused by previous generations of film scholars to such a point that the word has become virtually meaningless. Expressionism in its most narrowly defined meaning has referred to a specific group of six or seven modernist art films produced in Weimar Germany between 1920 and 1924, while in its broadest sense it has been utilized as a catchall term to define any film or style in the history of cinema opposed to realism or attempting to convey strong emotions.

Fans and Fandom

Film fans and film fandom do not amount to quite the same thing: one can be a fan of a particular film, genre, actor, or director, but still not participate in the social organizations, interactions, and gatherings of "fandom." Being a fan is, at least in the first instance, a matter of appreciating particular films, and being affectively or emotionally invested in them. Fans are often individuals who are not in contact with other people sharing their emotional attachments to specific films or stars.

Fantasy Films

Arguably, any film relying on fictional situations and characters might be considered fantasy. Indeed Hollywood's "dream factory" prides itself on transporting its audience to myriad fictional settings.


Fashion's relationship to film is characterized by two factors: how film has influenced fashion and how fashion and the work of specific fashion designers have been used in film. These are not mutually exclusive but parallel trajectories.


The emergence of the women's liberation movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s had a profound impact on scholarship as well as on society. Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) set the stage for liberation movements by detailing middle-class women's isolation, even oppression, within the suburban household.


A film festival is an event designed to exhibit, celebrate, and promote a selection of motion pictures chosen according to the particular aims and ambitions of the event's organizers and sponsors. Although the exact origin of the term "film festival" is difficult to determine, its near-universal use probably stems more from its alliterative lilt than from its precision as a descriptive tool.

Film History

There is no single or simple history of film. As an object of both academic and popular interest, the history of film has proven to be a fascinatingly rich and complex field of inquiry.

Film Noir

In 1946, French film critics coined the term film noir, meaning black or dark film, to describe a newly emergent quality in wartime Hollywood films. At that time, the term signified an unexpected strain of maturity in contemporary American film, marking the end of a creatively ossified era and the beginning of a bold new one.

Film Stock

In 1889, Eastman Kodak introduced a flexible, transparent roll film made from a plastic substance called celluloid. Kodak chemists had perfected the celluloid film that had been invented and patented in 1887 by the Reverend Hannibal Goodwin.

Film Studies

From the outset, motion pictures have stimulated discussion and debate as a technology, a social phenomenon, a political tool, a moral danger, and an art. The earliest discussions and debates took place outside an academic context.

Fine Art

The cinema has engaged in a dialogue with the traditional fine arts—visual art, literature, music, theater, and architecture—from its inception to the present. The relationships between cinema, the "seventh art," to the other arts is indeed vast and complex.


During its heyday between 1930s and 1950s, domestic film production in Finland developed into a miniature image of the Hollywood film industry, yet with certain national characteristics based on the country's historical and political situation. Thus, for instance, due to Russian repression while Finland still was a Grand Duchy under the rule of Czarist Russia, film production was initially regarded as a national project aimed at reinforcing the identity of the Finnish people on the one hand, and at presentation of the country and its people to foreign nations on the other hand.


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.

Gangster Films

Gangster films are films about gangsters, professional criminals who have banded together to commit crimes. This much is simple, and indeed a great deal of the genre's enduring appeal lies in its bold simplicity.

Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Cinema

The study of gay and lesbian cinema became a growing concern in the wake of 1970s feminist film theory and the discipline's increasing attention to issues of representation—of women, of racial and ethnic minorities, and eventually of gay and lesbian people. While there had been a few attempts to discuss onscreen homosexuality prior to that period (such as Parker Tyler's Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies [1972]), the seminal text on the subject was Vito Russo's The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies (first published in 1981, revised and updated in 1987).


Traditionally, the term "gender" refers to the grammatical categories of masculine, feminine, and neuter, but in recent usage it refers more widely to sex-based social categories. Social scientists and anthropologists commonly distinguish gender, which is applied to social and cultural categories, from sex, which is reserved for biological categories.


Genres are categories of kinds or types of artistic or cultural artifacts with certain elements in common. In film, common generic elements include subject matter, theme, narrative and stylistic conventions, character types, plots, and iconography.


German cinema, in its widest sense what the Germans call Filmkultur (film culture), illustrates many aspects of Germany's history, culture, commerce, and politics over more than a hundred years. Any account of world film-making must acknowledge the range of the German cinema's technical and aesthetic innovation, its difficult yet fascinating evolution, and the influence of its leading figures and works.

Great Britain

Any consideration of the cinema of Great Britain raises two key problems. First is the dominance of Hollywood cinema.

Great Depression

The Great Depression refers to that period of American history between the stock market crash of October 1929 and the US entry into World War II following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Although the United States had experienced other significant depressions before—the periods between 1839 and 1843, 1873 and 1879, and 1893 and 1896 offer three examples—the Great Depression was particularly sustained and persistent.


The history of the Greek cinema is inextricably bound to the complex political history of Greece in the twentieth century. What constituted the legitimate Greek state was still at issue in the early part of that century.

Guilds and Unions

Labor unions and guilds have been organized in film industries in many countries. Typically, these organizations have focused on specific types of workers, such as actors, directors, and technical workers—for example, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, TV and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Directors Guild of Great Britain (DGGB), and the Australian Theatrical & Amusement Employees' Association (ATAEA).

Heritage Films

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Historical Films

Beginning in 1915 with The Birth of a Nation, directed by D. W.


Holocaust films narrate or document the persecution and genocide of Jews and others under the Nazi Third Reich of Adolf Hitler (1933–1945). From the 1935 Nuremberg Laws that excluded Jews from citizenship of the Reich, to the 9 November 1938 Kristellnacht attacks on Jews, their synagogues, and their businesses, to the 1941 Wannsee meeting at which Nazis planned the final solution, to the rounding up of Jews not only in Germany but in all German occupied territory, to the operation of the Nazi death camps and other acts of mass murder, these most tragic and traumatic events in modern history constitute the Holocaust, or as it is also called, the Shoah.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong cinema is shaped by two major factors—geographical location and politics. As a major port and trading center, Hong Kong was the first Chinese city exposed to the invention of cinema.

Horror Films

Horror films take as their focus that which frightens us: the mysterious and unknown, death and bodily violation, and loss of identity. They aim to elicit responses of fear or revulsion from their audience, whether through suggestion and the creation of mood or by graphic representation.


For a small country with a post–World War I population of around ten million, whose history is filled with wars, revolutions, political repression, and foreign domination, Hungary's achievement in filmmaking is extraordinarily impressive. This history itself has provided a major source of thematic material, as has Hungary's rich literary tradition.


The concept of ideology is often associated with the work of Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) and Karl Marx (1818–1883). In general, Marxists approach cultural forms as emerging from specific historical situations that serve particular socioeconomic interests and that carry out important social functions.