Essay on 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
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This is essential to the audience being able to understand and interpret film.
This is where Crofts article could be read as a criticism of an article like Hayward’s.
Hayward’s close affiliation with French Cinema (she wrote a book French National Cinema ) means one can assume the majority of her ideas on national cinema could be bias, or somewhat based on the French national cinema. This is shown in her article where she refers to very few types of national cinema.

At this point I would like to bring in my third reading from Andrew Higson’s article in ‘Limiting the imagination of National Cinema.’ Higson agrees with Crofts argument of interpreting national cinema from a global perspective by admitting that his own specialised knowledge of British Cinema could lead him to giving an “Anglocentric version of what a national cinema might be. ”
One of Higson’s main arguments focuses on the idea of films becoming transnational and penetrating the boundaries of the reflectionist ideas of the National Cinema. Higson provides examples including that of Evita (1996), a Hollywood production of an Argentinean hero to prove how problematic framing national cinemas is and to further his idea on the increasing relevance of the term transnationalism. However, Higson stops short of coining the term national cinema obsolete when he says, “to
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