The world envisioned by the idea of world cinema is often tied to a conception of the planet in terms of the global circulation of films and networks of production, consumption and distribution. This article argues for the need to confront the world as a representational and aesthetic category in and of itself.
This article examines the term ‘World Cinema’ by comparing it to ‘world literature’, as understood by two German thinkers of the Romantic period: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Karl Marx, who attributed universal appeal to it. It argues that World cinema, like world literature, testifies to the unequal distribution of economic and cultural power. World Cinema refers to cinemas of peripheries, cinematic production of ‘developing’ or Third World countries or non-Hollywood. Moreover, it does not encompass everything which is produced in the peripheries, but only that part, which lends itself to the gaze of (broadly understood) western scholars. Inevitably, such gaze privileges ‘canonical works’, which have already received national recognition and which due to their subjects, forms or ideologies, align themselves with the production in the centre. However, there are also films created in the peripheries which transcended national boundaries despite being openly local and even hostile to the idea of competing with other films on the global market, especially films made in Hollywood or modelled on Hollywood, such as Third Cinema, whose analysis concludes the discussion.
The article explores the concept of world cinema as an other to global cinema from a marketing perspective. Special attention is given to the way the world cinema universe is presented on video-on-demand platforms in Western markets. To demonstrate that the stories, scope and concerns of this universe vary according to marketing objectives, the article compares presentations on three platforms with contrasting business models and marketing algorithms: Netflix, Filmin, and FilmDoo. This leads to an important conclustion: presentations on platforms with an apparently more ethical business model are not necessarily more progressive and more advantageous to world cinema in terms of avoiding its “genre-fication”.