Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Wealth Of International Film Periodicals

Advertisement for Purab Aur Pacchhim (East and West), from Film World (March 1971)

During a recent revisit to SFPL's film magazine collection, both current and ceased publicatons, I was again made aware of the wealth of film literature about world cinema that lies within our reach. Titles such as FilmKritik (German), Cinema (French), Cinema Nuovo (Italian), Cine Cubano (Spanish), and Film World (English/India) allow us an important look into the cinematic world that co-exists with mainstream American cinema.

Having grown up myself watching Indian Hindi cinema or Pakistani Urdu cinema (Urdu and Hindi are two names of the same language), I really appreciated discovering the periodical Film World. Though it is primarily dedicated to Hindi cinema, it gives ample space to Indian films being made in other Indian languages such as Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam. One can also find articles about international cinema.

For example, if one were to request the bound volume 7 of Film World from storage, one would find in the Feb – March 1971 issue a detailed article on a production boom in India, a detailed write up on the first screen lady of Indian cinema Devika Rani, and successes of superstar Rajesh Khanna and Akkineni Nageswara Rao. This issue also has an article on the great French new wave director Jean Renoir and his definition of cinema verite, and a couple of pages dedicated to American cinema in an article entitled "Revolution in American Cinema" that discusses works like Five Easy Pieces, Midnight Cowboy, and Easy Rider.

In other issues, I found many insightful critiques of leading Hindi filmmakers, actors and their films.  The film posters and advertising from that time are delightful and offer a rare window to a people’s past. With the rising interest in what is known in the west as Bollywood, Film World and a later periodical Cinema Vision India can be of tremendous historical and cultural value to those who are intrigued by Indian films.


Film World (Bombay, India) (T.M. Ramachandran, 1961-). [San Francisco Public Library has 1971-1978]

Cinema Vision India ([Bombay] : S. Kak).  [San Francisco Public Library has 1980-1983]

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