Third Cinema – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Film Theory Glossary Terms

I. What is Third Cinema?

Third Cinema is a term coined by Argentine filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino in their manifesto “Towards a Third Cinema” in 1969. It refers to a movement in filmmaking that emerged in Latin America, Africa, and Asia during the 1960s and 1970s as a response to the dominance of Hollywood and European cinema. Third Cinema is characterized by its focus on social and political issues, its rejection of commercialism, and its commitment to representing the voices and experiences of marginalized and oppressed communities.

II. What are the key characteristics of Third Cinema?

Some key characteristics of Third Cinema include its emphasis on collective filmmaking, its use of non-professional actors, its experimental narrative techniques, and its rejection of traditional Hollywood conventions. Third Cinema filmmakers often prioritize the political and social message of their films over aesthetic concerns, and they frequently employ documentary-style techniques to create a sense of realism and authenticity.

III. How does Third Cinema differ from First and Second Cinema?

First Cinema refers to mainstream commercial cinema, typically produced in Hollywood and other Western film industries. Second Cinema, on the other hand, encompasses art house and independent cinema that challenges dominant narratives and conventions. Third Cinema differs from both First and Second Cinema in its emphasis on political and social issues, its commitment to representing the perspectives of marginalized communities, and its rejection of commercialism and Western cultural imperialism.

IV. What is the significance of Third Cinema in the context of film theory?

Third Cinema has been influential in challenging traditional notions of cinema as entertainment or art and highlighting the potential of film as a tool for social change and political activism. Third Cinema theorists argue that mainstream cinema perpetuates dominant ideologies and reinforces existing power structures, while Third Cinema offers a platform for marginalized voices and alternative perspectives. Third Cinema has also been instrumental in expanding the boundaries of film theory and practice, inspiring filmmakers around the world to experiment with new forms and styles of storytelling.

V. How has Third Cinema influenced contemporary cinema?

The influence of Third Cinema can be seen in the work of contemporary filmmakers who continue to explore social and political issues through their films. Many filmmakers today draw inspiration from the principles of Third Cinema, such as the use of non-professional actors, the incorporation of documentary-style techniques, and the focus on marginalized communities and their struggles. Third Cinema has also had a lasting impact on film festivals, academic discourse, and film education, helping to shape the way we think about cinema as a powerful medium for social change and cultural expression.

VI. What are some notable Third Cinema films and filmmakers?

Some notable Third Cinema films and filmmakers include “The Hour of the Furnaces” (1968) by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, “Black Girl” (1966) by Ousmane Sembène, “Memories of Underdevelopment” (1968) by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, and “The Battle of Algiers” (1966) by Gillo Pontecorvo. These films are celebrated for their bold political statements, innovative storytelling techniques, and commitment to representing the voices of the oppressed and marginalized. Other influential Third Cinema filmmakers include Glauber Rocha, Sarah Maldoror, and Djibril Diop Mambéty, who have all made significant contributions to the development of Third Cinema as a powerful and transformative cinematic movement.