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.