What Is ‘National Cinema’? Canon, Transnational Cinema, and Early Cinema
Keywords:history of cinema, early cinema, postcolonialism
Although the aspects of anationhood in art theory and culture have already been thoroughly investigated, the relatively young discipline of cinema theory is only beginning to grapple with the notion of nationality in cinema. The earliest attempts to define ‘national cinema’ go back as far as the soviet and the early Independence periods, as seen in the works of Marijona Malcienė, Laimonas Tapinas, and Živilė Pipinytė. The paper aims to build on these early debates and develop a new interpretation of the notion of national cinema, offer its contemporary historiography with the pluralist understanding of the notion, and therefore ask the following series of questions: is it only the cultural texts about the host country that can be considered ‘national’? does ‘nationality’ depend on the nationality of the artist? what criteria determine the value and significance of cinema? is it just the films with high artistic quality that are worthy of our attention? how about other factors that determine the culture of cinema (audience, distribution, screening)? how does the integration of these factors change our understanding of ‘national cinema’?
The paper addresses these questions in three parts. In the first one, I use key authors (Andrew Higson, John Hill, and Stephen Croft) to discuss the development of the notion of ‘national cinema’ while paying more attention to its modern interpretation due to its relevance to the contemporary cinema theory.