Films are products of culture. It is a culture woven into a piece of art. Films are like mirrors reflecting certain cultures, and these cultures in turn, are also affected back by these films in which they relate to. In fact, film is considered as one great type of art because of its effectiveness in influencing its audience or film viewers. It is therefore very important to be careful of what should be shown to the viewers though films because of the possible effects that it can do to the public, a social entity that is reemerging from the film with a well-defined historical and contemporary roles and functions.
This public is where the film audiences also came from and, audience, is the group where the film is appealing to, influencing them, their thoughts, their ideas and their beliefs as they see their own culture unfolds before them in front of the screen through the motion pictures. It is actually difficult to visualize an instituted and strengthened public/national identity without reinforcement between or among those who are sharing this national identity.
The role of films therefore is to relay the information back to those individuals with shared identity, values, culture and many other things in “their sense of common cultural memory or mutual belonging”1 according to David Forgacs, stated in the book of Ricci. With this high sensibility to the public, more often than not, governments take some, or even much, precautions before allowing some release of films by regulating them or, sometimes, governments take advantage of the films to promote their national goals through the encouragement of some themes in them in exchange to some benefits and privileges given to filmmakers.
II. Major European Nations and Their Films It is important to understand that films are generally regulated. Some institutions located in a country or region into where the film is based or created, or the culture of that region or area where the film relates to, must also be considered in the creation of that certain film. Films must also be paralleled or must be aligned with the whims of the regulatory bodies controlling them, or else they cannot be approved for public release and viewing.
At present day, these regulations are apparent to some directives given by governing bodies such as the European Union (EU) in European countries. Some of the directive’s provision includes statement such as: ”broadcasters reserve for European works the majority proportion of their transmission time”2. This is the general directive. Each country however has their respective ways of regulating and directing their own film industries as well as the films that are to be shown in their respective territories, both in the past and presently.
In English film industry in the early eightees, before Thatcher’s intervention, it “had been generally expected that a Labour government would increase state support for film in recognition of its cultural, and not just commercial, worth” 3 (Hill 1996, 101) Another film industry that can be seen as controlled, making the art as a means to encourage national goals, is seen in the French national film industry where there are quotas as to the percentage of European and American/foreign films that may be shown to the public, and this is claimed to be in accordance with cultural preservation of European values.
In Italy however, films are freer and without so much restrictions imposed upon their approval and release to the public. In the early 1920’s Soviet era, foreign films were even utilized for the purpose of its own “industry’s recovery”. 4 The following section focuses on major European nations and their national film forms in depth analyses in their institutional context. This includes the English, French and Italian film industries among others. III. Selected European Films in Their Institutional Context
As the Second World War approached, it was believed that the film productions in European areas were random. That was history. Today, aside from the umbrella rules of the recent EU Directive, each nation, especially the greater ones, have their own sets of rules and policies, as well as style and culture in their respective film industries. The following are major European countries/areas and how their respective film industries are with respect to institutional context/
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