Global women’s cinema

Authored by: Kate Ince

The Routledge Companion to World Cinema

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138918801
eBook ISBN: 9781315688251
Adobe ISBN:


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In the twenty-first century, a literature suggesting that women’s cinema be considered as (a) world cinema has begun to emerge. Both of these terms—“women’s cinema” and “world cinema”—are contested labels with multiple possible meanings, which makes an introductory summary of debates about their usage advisable, but before offering even this, a quotation from feminist film scholar Kathleen McHugh’s article “The World and the Soup: Historicizing Media Feminisms in Transnational Contexts” (McHugh 2009) will show how what she calls the “problem of the world” has been engaged with afresh in twenty-first-century feminist film studies:

In the past decade, feminist film scholars have employed a number of strategies to engage this “problem of the world” and the distinct, often paradoxical transnational cultural specificities of women’s and feminist film production. They have recovered and remobilised the concept of “women’s cinema,” first popularised by Anglophone scholars such as Claire Johnston, and submitted it to the politics of location, charting its instantiation across and through different cultural contexts and modes of production. In monographs, articles, and special issues of journals, their work advances transnational conceptual frameworks such as “minor cinema” or “women’s cinema as world cinema” to apprehend women’s creative, diverse, and transnational contributions to cinema systematically, beyond encyclopaedic reference and national or regional formats.

(McHugh 2009: 118)

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