The Oxford History of World Cinema Research Paper

Films, there are a series of genres and themes which are used to tell a larger story. It focuses on a number of different areas to include: romanticism, mystery, reality, sex and horror. This provides the audience with another avenue of entertainment that is different from the status quo. These views are challenging conventional practices by offering an alternative form of filmmaking. To fully understand how this shaped contemporary cinema requires focusing three different movies and tracing their influences. Together, these elements will underscore the effects this is having on modern day moviemaking.

Three Films and the Influences of French Nouvelle Vague, the British New Wave/Kitchen Sink Realism, the New German Cinema and the New Latin American Cinema

There are several different disciplines which are impacting the creation of films. The most notable include: French Nouvelle Vague, the British New Wave / Kitchen Sink Realism, New German Cinema and New Latin American Cinema. French Nouvelle Vague is using loosely structure plots, unconventional photographic techniques and characters. British New Wave / Kitchen Sink Realism are using social ideas to illustrate the issues effecting ordinary people. New German Cinema is concentrating on new ideas about contemporary society and the views of the individual. New Latin American Cinema is looking at social issues from a larger national context. In general, these films were utilized to question the status quo and the influence they are having on Latin American countries. This is accomplished using Hollywood techniques and integrating them to create a unique feel for different regions. [footnoteRef:2] [2: Nochimson, Martha. World on Film: An Introduction. (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 67 — 114.]

The three films that will be examined include: The Wave, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and the Internship. All of them are using various elements of the above disciplines. This enables each movie to tell a unique story using the latest techniques.

The Wave is the classic example of how group thinking can have an impact on political psychology. It is highlighting the way different personalities are able to change and accept the dynamics of the sub-society. This achieved through embracing some of the most common attributes. That influence how the person sees themselves and the way the group is able to fill a void in their lives. In the movie, there is a focus on influence on political psychology and group thinking (i.e. control). This can occur based upon a number of factors. The most notable include: a focus on specific issues, the political ideology of teachers / college professors / members of the group and the targeting of specific segments of society. [footnoteRef:3] [3: The Wave, directed by Dennis Gansel (2008; Berlin: Rat Pack Film Production, 2008) DVD.]

The plot is based upon how someone becomes susceptible to thinking which allows atrocities to occur. The professor encourages everyone to create their own sub-society as a way to see how this works. At first, this brings the class together and it encourages everyone to support the larger ideals of the group. To build upon these beliefs, college professors / teachers / other members of the group will influence how they look at themselves and those around them. This can further instill a sense of community and make the person to feel as if they are a part of something special. When this happens, the person will become more radicalized in their beliefs. Over the course of time, they will engage in actions to support the group and demonstrate how they are following various social norms. Moreover, control can more easily be exerted on those who are from specific segments of society (i.e. The young and social outcasts). This serves as a way for them to identify with everyone and to have a sense of family. It also enables them to build their self-confidence and address critical weaknesses in their lives. These areas will have an influence on individual psychology by changing how they see themselves and the basic issues they support. Once this occurs, is when they will do more for the group by having a sense of belonging and needing their support to feel stronger / more self-confident. However, as the film continues this creates racism and divisiveness. It eventually ends with the professor committing suicide, as he feels responsible for what happened. While the other members of the group are confused and do not know how they will go on without the shared identify and values. [footnoteRef:4] [4: The Wave, directed by Dennis Gansel (2008; Berlin: Rat Pack Film Production, 2008) DVD.]

This movie is embracing French Nouvelle Vague by structuring the plot with the different characters feeding off of each other and with it filmed in black and white. British New Wave and New German Cinema are showing how social ideas can influence every person within the group. New Latin America Cinema is looking at these issues from a nationalist perspective and the benefits / drawbacks of the ideology. While at the same time, it has similar visual effects as an independent Hollywood film. [footnoteRef:5] [5: Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. The Oxford History of World Cinema. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). 78 — 136. ]

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry focuses on the life of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. He is considered one of the greatest artists of our time and is a revolutionary for the people of China. He grew up in period when the country was changing. However, Ai Weiwei spent most of his life in a labor camps. This is because of his father’s profession. In 1981 he traveled to the U.S. To expand his education in the arts. After his return, he helped establish the experimental artists’ Beijing East Village and co authored three books that would become very controversial and illegal.[footnoteRef:6] [6: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, directed byAlison Klayman. Perf. Danqing Chen, Ying Gao and Changwei Gu (Independent, 2012) Film.]

Ai’s greatest personal achievement is the Citizens Investigation. This is when Ai and his team lead an investigation, into the Chinese government’s response surrounding the lack of information following the May 12, 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province. During this process, he formed a list of more than 5,385 names of lost children on his blog. This was terminated by the Chinese government. They began targeting him and his family through using various forms of intimidation and scare tactics. The most notable include: beatings, being placed under house arrest and he was detained for over eighty one days. This is from not having the basic right to speak out against government policies and responses to national disasters. These freedoms are something everyone takes for granted every day. Ai and many others are continuing to work for the people of China, in order to gain the ability to challenge an oppressive government. This is illustrating how he has dedicated his life to freedom of speech and other civil rights.[footnoteRef:7] [7: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, directed byAlison Klayman. Perf. Danqing Chen, Ying Gao and Changwei Gu (Independent, 2012) Film.]

In this case, the film is embracing French Nouvelle Vogue by looking at the plot from retro and contemporary perspectives. This is designed to provide a clearer understand of the life of Ai Weiwei and why his struggle is so important. It is embracing British New Wave and New German Cinema through examining the arrest and challenges facing Ai. This helps the audience to understand the social challenges and the long-term effects they are having on everyone. New Latin American Cinema is examining how these issues are impacting Chinese nationality. In this case, there are the views of the Communist Party and those who are supporters of greater personal freedoms. Each one of them claims how they are a part of supporting these ideals.[footnoteRef:8] These techniques are different from The Wave by taking a realistic perspective to comprehend what is occurring. [8: Nochimson, Martha. World on Film: An Introduction. (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 67 — 114.]

The Internship is highlighting the way two unemployed and under qualified watch salesman transform the attitudes and beliefs of others. This is in spite of the challenges they are facing and the impact it has on everyone’s mind set. These objectives were achieved by focusing on specific techniques. That are transforming, the team members’ thoughts and how they look at their situation. The most notable include: don’t criticize / condemn / complain, give honest appreciation, show a genuine interest in other people, smile, be a good listener, encourage others to talk about themselves, talk in terms of the other person’s interests, make everyone feel important, avoid arguments, see things from different perspectives, appeal to nobler motives, throw down a challenge, call attention to mistakes indirectly, ask questions vs. giving orders, use encouragement and motivate the other person. These different areas are utilized throughout the movie, to connect with the team and help them to overcome critical challenges. [footnoteRef:9] [9: The Internship, directed by Vince Vaugh (Century Fox, 2013). Film.]

This unites everyone to focus on a single goal and grow as individuals. Towards the end, Billy and Nick are able to set the direction and encourage the team to think differently. The result is that they are able to positively influence the head of Google Search and the internship program. This helped them to find other sources of revenues for the company and create avenues to reach out to a variety of established businesses. At the end, is when these skills become a part of each person and it teaches them to change their lives for the better. These ideas were used to transform their mindset and unite everybody under a single goal.[footnoteRef:10] [10: The Internship, directed by Vince Vaugh (Century Fox, 2013). Film.]

In this case, the film is embracing French Nouvelle Vague by using a loose plot structure and two characters that fit the profile of losers (i.e. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn). This helps the audience to connect with the characters. British New Wave and New German Cinema is looking at social concepts and their influence on different groups of people who are social outcasts. In many ways, one could argue that this is supporting the ideas from the other movies by showing the various characters as ordinary people. New Latin Cinema is concentrating on how the movie is embracing the American dream. This is accomplished through having creativity, flexibility and the capacity to adapt with a host of situation. These tactics are used in all three films to vary degrees. The differences are based upon the country and social / political perspectives.[footnoteRef:11] [11: Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. The Oxford History of World Cinema. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). 78 — 136. ]


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Directed by Alison Klayman. Perf. Danqing Chen, Ying Gao and Changwei Gu. Independent. 2012. Film.

The Wave. Directed by Dennis Gansel. 2008; Berlin: Rat Pack Film Production, 2008. DVD.

The Internship. Directed by Vince Vaughn. Century Fox. 2013. Film

Nochimson, Martha. World on Film: An Introduction. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

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