In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Ecocinema

  • Introduction
  • General Anthologies
  • Theorizing Ecocinema: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Politics
  • Eco-Genres: Documentary, Animation, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comedy
  • Affect, Cognition, Emotions
  • Sustainable Practices: Film Production, Circulation, Pedagogy
  • The Environment: Landscapes and Seascapes
  • Animals, Plants, and the More-than-Human World
  • The Anthropocene: Weather, Climate Change, and Eco-Disasters
  • Pollution, Waste, and Toxicity
  • Decolonial and Indigenous Approaches
  • Hollywood and Cinema of the Americas
  • European Cinemas
  • Asian, African, and Arctic Cinemas

Cinema and Media Studies Ecocinema
Kiu-wai Chu, Jamie Uy
  • LAST REVIEWED: 20 February 2024
  • LAST MODIFIED: 20 February 2024
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0374

This article was updated on February 20, 2024 by Kiu-wai Chu and Jamie Uy. It was originally written by Kiu-wai Chu, published on March 30, 2017. The original article can be found here.


This article introduces recent English scholarship in the burgeoning field of ecocinema studies. Often seen as a sub-branch of ecocriticism, ecocinema studies (also referred to as “green film criticism,” or “eco-film criticism”) has witnessed significant development only over the past two decades. All books and articles cited have been published after the mid-1990s, highlighting the relatively brief history of the field. As a subfield within the rapidly expanding environmental humanities, ecocinema studies has experienced rapid growth and diversification since this article’s initial publication in 2017. In recent years, numerous monographs and edited volumes have been released broadly on the intersecting topics of film, media, ecology, and environmental issues. This revised article on Ecocinema has annotated a total of 111 publications, of which 46 have been published between 2017 and 2023. The article is organized in three broad categories, comprising a total of 13 sections. The first five sections focus on the theory and practice of ecocinema studies. General Anthologies introduces edited volumes dedicated to a wide range of thematic issues and theoretical approaches in ecocinema studies. Theorizing Ecocinema: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Politics introduces film scholarship that contributes to define, conceptualize, and examine “ecocinema” from aesthetic, ethical, and political dimensions. Eco-Genres: Documentary, Animation, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comedy highlights several genres that are often discussed in ecocritical scholarship. Given that ecocinema studies revolve largely around the interplay between film, ecology, and the human mind, books that focus on human affective, cognitive, and emotive responses to ecocinema are also a major aspect in the field’s theorization, as exemplified in Affect, Cognition, Emotions. The section Sustainable Practices: Film Production, Circulation, Pedagogy goes beyond textual analysis of films and puts ecological and environmental ideologies into practice by incorporating writings on the ecological footprint of film, environmental film festivals, film and media production and circulation, as well as pedagogical practices in ecocinema. The subsequent sections introduce works that center around five major themes in ecocinema studies. The Environment: Landscapes and Seascapes and Animals, Plants, and the More-than-Human World explore human relationships with the nonhuman world—namely, the (natural and urban) environments—and the nonhuman creatures such as animals and plants. In light of the emerging discourse of the Anthropocene, the sections on The Anthropocene: Weather, Climate Change, and Eco-Disasters and Pollution, Waste, and Toxicity center on issues that highlight human agency and responsibilities, and the urgency of environmental crises in the contemporary world. Decolonial and Indigenous Approaches acknowledges the growing attention within cinema and its studies to decolonial, postcolonial, anticolonial, and Indigenous approaches, as well as the fight for climate and environmental justice, particularly in the Global South. The final sections are structured according to geopolitical territories, covering books and articles on Hollywood and Cinema of the Americas, European Cinemas, and scholarly works that concentrate on Asian, African, and the Arctic cinemas. These sections, in particular, reveal a flourishing field with an expanded focus. Nonetheless, certain countries and regions still receive relatively little attention or are generally neglected due to the limited availability and accessibility of works published in languages other than English. This revised article, compared to the original 2017 publication, clearly reflects the rapid expansion of ecocinema studies, which shows a much greater focus on cinema of the Global South, as well as a commitment to addressing global environmental injustice through adopting decolonial, Indigenous, ecomaterialist, and post-anthropocentric approaches in film analysis.

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