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Contemporary Political Cinema

Matthew Holtmeier

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Explores political films that have emerged on the global film festival circuit (1990s-2010s)

The political films that have emerged on the global film festival circuit since the 1990s mark a shift in cinematic strategies for critically addressing dominant, militant, or otherwise repressive ideologies. From a focus on the representation of oppression in films like The Battle of Algiers, films such as Timbuktu, Nobody Knows About Persian Cats and Chop Shop now contribute to the active formation of political characters and viewers, a form not fully realized until the 21st century due to shifts in information technologies and resulting political organization. This book demonstrates that a contemporary form of political cinema has emerged, centered on the production of subjectivity and networks of protest, which depicts the active formation of political identities that resonates with off-screen protest movements.

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From Battle of Algiers to Outside the Law: Translating the Algerian Revolution for the Contemporary Era

Networks of Extremity: Militancy in Bab El-Oued City and Timbuktu

Kurds on Screen and Bahman Ghobadi’s Networks of Resistance

Jia Zhangke’s Aimless Youths: Witnessing Economic Reform in the People’s

Republic of China

Ramin Bahrani’s Fragmented Dreams: Contemporary American Realist Cinema and the Broken Cliché


About the Author

Matthew Holtmeier is a Fixed-Term Assistant Professor of Screen Studies at Ithaca College. His research focuses on the production of cinematic subjectivity in response to globalization and in bioregional media through its focus on specific environments. Previous publications on global cinema and bioregional media have been published in journals such as Screen, Film-Philosophy, the Journal of Chinese Cinemas, and The Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication.


'Matt Holtmeier’s original and elegantly illuminating study brilliantly explores what ‘cine-politics’ looks like on today’s screens. Using well-chosen recent films primarily from the global south, Holtmeier makes, through lucid textual analysis, thoroughly grounded theory and judicious contextual notes, a valuable, fresh and significant contribution to the literature on political cinema.'
- Professor Brian Winston, University of Lincoln

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