The Ten Best Countries for Film Production

Ever since movies have existed, various countries have been participating vigorously in the ever expanding industry, but just what countries have consistently managed to release better films than all the others? Here are the ten best countries for film production, wherein you are most likely to get your money’s worth:

10: Russia

The Golden Age of Russian Cinema rests within the age referred to as the Soviet Cinematic Era, and birthed such influential and classic masterpieces as The Battleship Potemkin and The Man with the Movie Camera. During the contraints and heat of wartime in the first half of the 20th century, films often were viewed from a political perspective, and were used as weapons.

However, after the wars, when things were relatively beginning to settle, Russian filmmakers were given more freedom and less censorship, and Russian cinema began to run on a timeline of eventual development. From films such as The Cranes are Flying which reexamined Russia’s shady past, to films like Tarkovsky’s Solaris, which allowed Russian cinema to branch out into new areas and the more recent The Return and Russian Ark which brought its creators critical acclaim and numerous awards, as well as re-establishing and reminding the world that the Russians, technically, had a film ability and vision that was a force to be reckoned with.

9: Australia

Australian cinema showed its prominence mainly with the barrage of actors it launched into mainstream appeal and Hollywood acceptance. And yet, considerably few of the country’s fine films have showcased these actor’s potential when compared with the dozens of Hollywood films we see them in. Peter Finch, Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett are just some of the actors we’ve seen heaps of in Hollywood, but their real roots lie in the cinema of their home continent.

With the birth of the Australian New Wave in the early 70s, directors such as Peter Weir, Ken Hannam, George Miller and Peter Faiman, among others, had their films recognized globally for their significance and relevance to cinema. Arguably the most important Australian film, Picnic at Hanging Rock, has received global acclaim and the admiration of critics and viewers alike with its thoughtful provocation and shocking tactics. As time went on, Australian cinema only continued to develop with brilliant films such as Romper Stomper, Muriel’s Wedding, Babe, The Tracker, Rabbit-Proof Fence and Moulin Rouge, among many others, showcasing the talents of Australian actors and directors, as well as reminding us of the ability of its general art.

8: Mexico

Mexican cinema, like Australian cinema, has brought a lot of its own citizens in the film industry into the mainstream spotlight. We may see actors like Gael Garcia Bernal and Selma Hayek in American films but it is important to remember their roots in Mexico. Mexican cinema dates back to the birth of cinema, but was only really fully acknowledged overseas with the arrival of directors such as Luis Buñuel in the 1930s, as Mexico’s Golden Age began to bloom. And it continued right throughout the century. Directors such as Buñuel, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Luis Alcoriza and many others. In the 1990s, the birth of New Mexican Cinema occured, and dozens of directors and actors were propelled into the mainstream. Directors such as Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu began to get their films and talents noticed in Hollywood and elsewhere, and have gone on to have extremely successful careers.

 

 

7: Japan

Japanese cinema has been around for a long time, and has encountered numerous notable stages of cinematic evolution. It has also encountered periods of extreme success, winning the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar more times than any other Asian country.

There are numerous genres, from darker horror film, to sophisticated ‘pink’ pornography, to the thought-provoking works of directors such as Akira Kurosawa. Indeed, it seems Kurosawa has had the biggest impact on the country’s film industry, showing with dashing cinematography and incredible force the possibilities of the true filmmaking art. Other directors have also shown their cleverness and ingenuity with their own influential masterpieces, such as Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses, Itami’s Tampopo, Otomo’s Akira, and Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. Japanese cinema has thus proved that it can strike success in nearly all genres, racking up impressive awards for various achievements.

6: Sweden

When one thinks of Swedish cinema, it seems, the name that always comes to mind is Ingmar Bergman. But, we must remember that Swedish cinema has had success and influence far before and beyond Bergman’s time. Swedish cinema was initially noticed in the early 20th century, when directors such as Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjöström began to make their mark. Introducing stars such as Greta Garbo into the spotlight, it didn’t take long for their talents to be noticed.

In the 50s and 60s, Swedish cinema grew with the rise of Bergman, whose films not only revolutionized the country’s style, but the style of all film worldwide. He also helped bring Sven Nykvist into the spotlight of appeal, as his distinct style helped carve the visual beauty of the Swedish aesthetic. At the same time as this was happening, Vilgot Sjöman was rousing controversy with films such as the sexually explicit I Am Curious (Yellow) that were as visually shocking for the time as they were undeniably influential. Modern Swedish directors such as Lasse Hallström and  Lukas Moodyson directing films that would gain attention from around the world, particularly the ever-expanding grip of Hollywood who took on board Hallström’s talent and thus brought popular American films such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and The Cider House Rules into existence.

5: Italy

Italian cinema has been hugely influential. In 1916, the Manifesto of Futuristic Cinematography was signed by various filmmakers, and was one of many steps into the world of film we live and experience today. It was an essential part of the founding of the avant-garde film industry, influencing the German Expressionists who would use the genre to create some of the most artistically relevant features of their times. But as war brew in Europe, fascism was a stronghold for Mussolini and would influence the way films were created, leading to countless works of propaganda and change.

After the war came neorealism, which would hugely change the way cinema operated at that time, leading to more emotionally strong, affecting films such as those of Vittorio De Sica. After his time, different genres began to emerge and become prominent, most notably the spaghetti western, with much thanks due to Sergio Leone in that area. This article certainly could not go without mentioning other auteurs, whose works influenced not only Italy, but the world wide. Names such as Fellini, Antonioni, Pasolini, Bertolucci, Argento, Rossellini, and many others are prominent in the encyclopaedia of film history with their movies having an astonishing impact.

 

4: India

In terms of cinematic output, India tops all countries. Over a thousand films are produced every year, and the iconic Bollywood film production genre is still thriving. India has been making films vigorously for over a hundred years, and while not all of them have been masterpieces, a large number have had great affect and modern cinema owes a lot to India.

Possibly the most famous and best example of pure Indian cinema is Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy. This was in the 50s, around the time India experienced its New Wave and began to become more widely received across the globe. Indeed, it is Ray’s films which are the staples of revolutionary Indian cinema, and he is widely considered one of the greatest cinematic minds for his contribution to the evolutionary time. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, however, Indian cinema began to modernise, with the formation of several subgenres, from light comedy to darker thrillers to the intriguing genre of “Mumbai noir,” reflecting on pressing issues for India’s underworld. From this, and the continous output of thousands of films annually, we can tell just how important Indian cinema has been, and how it will continue to have an effect.

 

3: Germany

Germany has had an inarguably huge affect on cinema ever since the birth of the medium. The first internationally successful film is probably Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which was conveniently followed up with F.W. Murnau’s influential horror Nosferatu. This was during the age of German Expressionism, but that genre faded into obscurity as the Weimar Republic was replaced by Nazi Germany. This was an age where films of propaganda reigned, most famously Leni Riefenstahl’s The Triumph of the Will. During the Nazi period, many German filmmakers fled to America where they had full and prosperous careers. Cinema began a steady decline in Germany after the war, until the birth of New German Cinema, which officially occured with the signing of the Oberhausen Manifesto in 1962. Many influential German directors, such as Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders, subscribed to this manifesto and helped bring German Cinema into a new age. Today German cinema is alive, well and thriving, with continuous success in the many films it produces.

 

2: America

American cinema is arguably the most globally recognized of all cinema. Since D.W. Griffith revolutionised the medium in the 1910s, the American film industry has been consistent and successful. He made hundreds of films and, despite the controversy he caused, paved the way for thousands of filmmakers ahead of him. When sound pioneered in 1925 with The Jazz Singer, America experienced a steady boost and much recognition. During the 1930s, American film was prominently focused on the romantic comedy genre, although as time went on film developed somewhat of a depth as new techniques were invented and ideas flourished.

American cinema was changed forever in 1941 when Orson Welles created Citizen Kane, undeniably one of the most influential movies of all time. With him came a wave of Hollywood directors who would have a startling effect on the booming business of Hollywood. Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder were arguably the two most important of their time (the 50s), and they led the path for filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and countless others. With the rise of home video, movie accessibility became stronger, and the classic cult experience of viewing films at home would grow to influence modern directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson. Modern cinema introduced independent films, or ‘indie’ movies, allowing directors such as the aforementioned two to get their creative ideas more easily produced and surprisingly noticed. Today, American films are still widely recognized and seen worldwide and have a much better distribution and average sales number than cinema of other nations.

1: France

Cinema was literally born in France, with the Lumiere brothers pioneering the first successful cinematographe, and giving life to cinema and cinematography as we know it. And it certainly doesn’t stop there. Directors such as the Lumieres and George Mèliés created the first real films, and when they retired, the Gaumont Film Company continued their empire, with huge success. However, after the First World War there was a slight decline, but film in France managed to pick itself up and dust itself off afterwards, with directors such as Jean Renoir rising to success in the 30s.

But, French film’s incredible boost wasn’t to be until the French New Wave, believed by many to be the birthplace of Modern French cinema, and stapled by directors such as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Louis Malle. As French film rose, so did its success and the number of directors and actors participating in its vigorous uprise. However, as New Wave rose, it began to slump in the 70s, and we were reminded just how lucky we were for the New Wave period of the 60s, and how influential it has become. Since this time, modern French directors such as Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Luc Besson, Michael Haneke, and various others. Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy had a huge impact in the 90s, dealing with themes of modern French society reminiscent of Godard and Truffaut, whilst remaining distinctly grounded. Jeunet’s Amelie, released in 2001, quickly became the highest grossing French film in the United States, of all time, and reminded us of the possibilities, uniqueness, and style of the cinema of France. Thus, France is the best country in the world to create a film. You have all the style, technique and originality, and French directors managed to consistently create amazing films at a rate which makes Hollywood look comparitively small. With the Cannes film festival every year, people flock to France to see a showcase of truly great film, in what may be one of the world capitals of consistently great film. Though many of the true auteurs of French cinema and worldwide cinema may have passed on by now, we have the legion of ideals and lessons that they have taught us, the themes, originality and style they have invented, and of course the films themselves which they have kindly left behind for us to revisit time and time again. Cinema was born in France, and if it should die (God forbid!), it would be only fitting for the last great films to be made in France.

-

That’s my list! Is there anything you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to say on the matter? Please, leave a comment below, and thank you for reading.

About these ads

About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on July 17, 2011, in Filmmakers, Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. Nice post! I have only experience from working on productions in Sweden (one being the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake) and I can totally see Sweden this high on the list.

    I probably would have had India and the US on the two top spots simply because of their output and I also would have included Canada on the list since a lot of big budget movies go there to shoot.

    • Well, there were a lot of factors to consider in ranking this list, but I’m generally very happy with the way it turned out. Can’t say I thought of Canada, though…

  2. I love Swedish movies! I also think that Australian films have become really strong again over the past few years (especially with gritty dramas like Animal Kingdom, which was absolutely fantastic). And, of course, I love American films.

    I really like films made in the UK, though. I don’t know why, but I find most of them really good (apart from the ones that are made for TV and just turn up on ‘Sunday Theatre’ on channel one, they’re really poxy).

    Nice list, though!

    • The UK have a nice film output rate but I don’t think they’ve been as influential as these ten. I don’t think I’ve paid enough attention to Aussie movies over the last few years, well not as much as I could’ve, probably. And Sweden… Ooh, they’re one of my favourite countries. Can you say Ingmar Bergman??

  3. I’ve thought about doing something very similar to this but they’re so very difficult to rank. In terms of overall quality, I find that Sweden is unparalleled. In terms of volume, I’d probably opt for America. But with a lot of volume comes a lot of duds and bad trends. Resting smack in the middle of those two is France, which has produced a higher volume than Sweden and a higher consistent quality than America. So basically, my #1 would be France, and #2 and #3 would be Sweden and the U.S., though I really don’t know what order without doing some deeper thought on it.

    The next two (#’s 4 and 5) would be Japan and Germany. Again, I’m not sure in which order. It’s a lot like the America/Sweden dynamic. I find that Japan has a higher consistent quality, but hasn’t had the influence on cinema in general that Germany has had.

    I’m not real big on Italian cinema, but that’s got a ton to do with personal preference. There’s no denying the influence. I’ve more or less loathed the few Indian films I’ve seen but that amounts to something like 3 movies. I’ve seen very little from Spain- a bunch of Buñuel films, the imaginative/fun work of Guillermo del Toro, the dreadful “Alucarda”, “The Sea Inside”, and a lot of recent very good horror films- but I’ve liked most of what I’ve seen.

    Purely on the basis of the Czech New Wave, I’d have to include Czechoslovokia in there somewhere. Again, it’s a personal preference thing. I imagine it’d be at the back of the list since my knowledge of it begins in the mid 50’s and ends in the mid to late 60’s.

    The UK, as I understand it, has had a lot of high points but I haven’t seen nearly enough to make any sort of educated decision about it. I know that I’ve loved the Powell/Pressburger films, Hitchcock’s early work, and a handful of others.

    • Yeah, this took days to research plus I had to put them in order, considering all factors, and I had to try and keep my own personal bias completely out of the picture. It was difficult, but I’m happy with the result and I’ve submitted it to the IMDb Hit List, so fingers crossed!

  4. Bollywood is amazing .. interesting that there are many facets in Bollywood in terms of entertainment and culture

  5. Interesting that you have France at #1. I was certainly expecting good old Hollywood to prevail. Not sure that they are that prevalent both in scope, size or influence.

    • Yes, well at the end of the day I must argue that France have had a much huger impact, and in general create better movies than America. France deserve a lot more attention than they get, and they still get a lot of attention.

  6. Well, the US are unsurpassable in film industry.

    • HAHA I thought someone might say that.

      • Ditto. Harry’s probably American too.

        The US make (or rather made) some of the best movies, but certainly many of the worst and most shallow – whence definitely not worth a #1 position.

        I’d put the UK on top of the list, but that’s because I think many French films are quite shit and foreigners like ‘em because it makes them dive into a culture they only know on the surface.

  7. Timothy Hunting

    A little disappointed that you forgot Canada. Seeing as Quebec embraces the French style of filmmaking and Vancouver adopts a large amount of Hollywood productions. Oh, and I forgot Toronto. Don’t worry, people forget things sometimes.

    • It was really difficult to make the final cut for this top ten list. I’m deeply sorry Canada didn’t make it, but it would definitely be on the list if it was expanded to 15 countries.

  8. Dear Tyler!

    With huge interest I has read your article devoted to the analysis film production in 10 best countries. I’m also interested in analysis of achievements of the various countries in the field of a cinema. However, my approach is a bit different. (By the way, I have not understood, why in the analysis of the Australian films you have ignored, perhaps, most appreciable film “Breaker” Morant?) I am based not on value judgment of enough limited circle of experts, but on the integrated indicators summarising estimations of as much as possible wide range of cinema-goers and successes of the countries on the most prestigious international film festivals. On this basis I have composed the list of 1000 greatest films which has published out on my web-site. It is possible also to find on my web-site “the standings” showing as this or that country is presented in the list of the 1000 greatest films. According to this table, the list of ten best countries in film production looks as follows: USA – 358; 2. USSR – 152; 3. France – 71; 4. UK – 65; 5. Italy – 60; 6. Japan – 48; 7. India – 36; 8. Germany – 27; 9. Sweden – 20; 10. China – 19.
    I would be rather grateful, if you could leave the remarks concerning my list and methodology of its drawing up.

    With kindest regards,
    Constantin

    • Constantin,

      thank you for your comment, with I have absorbed with great attention and interest.

      First of all, I have not seen Breaker Morant, and if I had, I’m sure it would have had a mention. Secondly, I wrote my list quite a while ago so I think there would be significant changes in the writing if I updated it (which I may do).

      Your table of countries is interesting, I will have to analyse it further if I decide to update my list.

  9. John Johnson

    No UK? Invalid list.

    • Yeah, I’m not sure how I left out the UK. If I redid the list they’d probably feature, but it’s an omission even I can’t explain.

  10. its awkward india n usa must be in top 2 position

  11. Alejandro Jodorowsky is chilean and worked in Mexico, and Luis Buñuel is spanish but worked in Mexico aswell.

  12. Korea definately should’ve been one of the top five.

  13. Tyler, which country in africa do u think is the best in terms of movies. Top 10 list

  14. iran should have been in the list..It gave great movies like children of heaven,a seperation..

  15. Navin Bukari

    Please produce a list bases on latest films. Indian cinemas are becoming the best. Thank you

  16. What about nigeria

  17. Carlos Claro

    Spain produced 2 giants of cinema: Buñuel and Almodovar. And then, there are plenty of lesser know directors (forgetting about other creators without whom there would be no films…): Carlos Saura, Víctor Erice, Alex de la Iglesia, Fernando Trueba, Alejandro Amenábar, Bigas Luna…

  18. Israel has great films too.

  19. I agree all without India. I would to at 10′ was Poland for: Wajda, Kieslowski, Has, Jan Jakub Kolski, Leszczynski, Kawalerowicz, Munk, Kutz, Polanski. My top of Europe:
    1. UK
    2. France
    3. Sweden
    4. Russia
    5. Italy
    6. Poland
    7. Spain
    8. Czech Rep.
    9. Serbia / Bosnia & Montenegro
    10. Danmark

  20. If Nigeria’s nollywood is not on your list then you need to make more research

  21. Australia? You are kidding, correct?
    As a resident of the country, I can say the film industry here really sucks. The movies are too play-it-safe or dull or pretentious student films. Once when we were of facination to overseas people there was an outpour of some good films, and even the Ozploitation era (crud films, but they were entertaining vehicles – some just to show a hell of a lot of nudity) but in the past 10 years there has been very little to showcase the industry well (exception is The Proposition).

    The UK needs to be in here, and maybe an honourable mention of South Korea. Base it a bit more on now.

    • YES! South Korea is DEFINITELY one that should be on that list.

      I know S. Korean cinema quite well and when it comes to consistency, quality & production value, they’re game leaders. Their scripts are also rock solid.

      I also agree with you on Australia. I’ve been in Sydney for a few years and as a filmmaker I really struggle – the industry is as dull & play-it-safe as you enunciated it. Never met a really creative director/producer. They mainly do commercial stuff, and film prod companies are way more expensive than they should be.

      Most notable actors come from Melbourne, and if it wasn’t for great actors, the Country’s cinema wouldn’t even be known at all.

  22. What most people don’t realise is that many of the most influential US-based directors are in fact English or Canadian e.g. Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Paul Haggis, and so on.

    For this century, the US can NOT come first. They’ve made way too many crap movies recently. Hollywood is now semi-decadent when it comes to screenwriting.

    Thus, if we take into account A. how innovative the screenwriting, B. the average quality of a film’s artistic output and C. the state of the industry in which such films are being made, we should have something like this:

    #1 UK – A substantial proportion of Hollywood legends in acting, writing and directing are English;

    #2 South Korea – since 2000 they’ve made some of the most engaging/innovative movies;

    #3 US – still one of the best places to make films in general, without a doubt but given the culture, their resources and the size of the country, it’s quite normal;

    #4 Germany

    #5 Sweden

    #6 Japan

    #7 France – only Americans like our movies;

    #8 Canada – arguably deserves more credit;

    #9 China – if we put aside the usual “the chinese government is good” propaganda;

    #10 Australia – thanks to their actors.

    I could have put Thailand somewhere on that list. But again it’s all about taste and mine’s really atypical: I hate cheesy movies.

  23. I think Nigeria should be enlisted among the best movie producing country.

  24. South korea definitely needs to be in the list…
    According to me presently india hardly produces any good film…

  25. Fake List, what bout Nigera?

  26. It’s genuinely very complicated in this full of
    activity life to listen news on TV, so I just use web for that reason, and obtain the most recent news.

  1. Pingback: The Moviesite Spotlight: Southern Vision « My Filmviews

  2. Pingback: 7×7 Link Award « Southern Vision

  3. Pingback: The Top Ten Best Countries for Film Production | Rohidas Vitthal Sanap: Web Developer/Designer

  4. Pingback: Ethiopian Cinema is on the Rise | Suavington on Lifestyle, Culture, and Society

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,031 other followers

%d bloggers like this: