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Slums on Screen

World Cinema and the Planet of Slums

Igor Krstić

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A polycentric approach to the representation of slums in world cinema

Near to one billion people call slums their home, making it a reasonable claim to describe our world as a ‘planet of slums.’ But how has this hard and unyielding way of life been depicted on screen? How have filmmakers engaged historically and across the globe with the social conditions of what is often perceived as the world’s most miserable habitats?

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1: Slums on and off Screen
Part One: Global Currents
2: Sensational Remediations
3: Documentary Mappings
4: Neorealist Narratives
5: Third Docufictions
6: Postmodern Bricolages
7: Digital Realisms
Part Two: Local Expressions
8: Favelas on Screen
9: Bombay Cinema
Select Filmography

About the Author

Igor Krstić studied German and Comparative Literature at the University of Tübingen, after which he obtained an M.A in Film and Television Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He completed his PhD at the University of Mannheim with a dissertation on the representation of slums in world cinema. Currently he is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Reading, where he works on a research project about essay films.


This lucid and necessary study offers a breathtaking coverage of more than a hundred years of slums in film. Igor Krstic undertakes an in-depth scrutiny of handpicked examples of the various phases of slums on screen worldwide, in the light of a rigorous, polycentric and cross-mediatic methodology. Fearlessly confronting the debates around the ethics of representing the underprivileged, Igor Krstic rises, with this book, to the forefront of film studies today.

Lúcia Nagib, Professor of Film, University of Reading

'Krstić’s highly accessible book shines a perceptive light on an area of world cinema that has been surprisingly under-researched for too long in film studies. It offers a refreshing insight into the relationship between the evolution of film practice and slum presentation and representation... This would appeal to both early researchers and scholars who are interested in the growing scholarship of world cinema.'

- Tamara Courage, University of Reading, Viewfinder
'This book skilfully provides a detailed and wide-ranging account of slum representation across films drawn from most continents and spanning a timeframe of over one hundred years. Analytically too, the book engages with a range of academic thought from the politics of urbanisation and globalisation to approaches drawn from cultural and film studies...[Slums on Screen] will be of great academic interest to scholars and students of development studies, urban politics, film studies and visual anthropology as well as to avid film fans.'
- Shannon Philip, LSE Review of Books