Metacinema, also meta-cinema, analogous to metafiction in literature, is a mode of filmmaking in which the film informs the audience that they are watching a work of fiction. Metacinema often references its own production, working against narrative conventions that aim to maintain the audience's suspension of disbelief.[1] Elements of metacinema includes scenes where characters discuss the making of the film or where production equipment and facilities are shown.


Examples of metacinema date back to the early days of narrative filmmaking. In the 1940s, backstage musicals and comedies like Road to Singapore (Victor Schertzinger, 1940) and Hellzapoppin' (H. C. Potter, 1941) exhibited a vogue for exploration of the medium of film at the same time as the monopolistic grip of Hollywood studios was loosening allowed more space for creative self-examination.[2] Metacinema can be identified in art cinema of the 1960s like (Federico Fellini, 1963) or The Passion of Anna (Ingmar Bergman, 1969), and it can often be found in the self-reflexive filmmaking of the Nouvelle Vague in films like Le Mépris (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) and Day for Night (François Truffaut, 1973).[3]

Metacinema continues to flourish in art films and comedies where experimentation with narrative conventions is encouraged.[4]


Notable examples of films of this type include (in chronological order):


  1. ^ Ames, Christopher. Movies About the Movies. p. 15
  2. ^ Ames, Christopher. Movies About the Movies. p. 41, 56
  3. ^ Stam, Robert. Reflexivity in Film and Literature.
  4. ^ Seidman, Steven. Comedian Comedy: A Tradition in Hollywood Film.
David Holzman's Diary

David Holzman's Diary is a 1967 American mockumentary, or work of metacinema, directed by James McBride and starring L.M. Kit Carson. A feature-length film made on a tiny budget over several days, it is a work of experimental fiction presented as an autobiographical documentary. "A self-portrait by a fictional character in a real place—New York's Upper West Side," the film comments on David's personality and life as well as on documentary filmmaking and the medium of cinema more generally.

Feng Xiaogang

Feng Xiaogang (simplified Chinese: 冯小刚; traditional Chinese: 馮小剛; pinyin: Féng Xiǎogāng; born 18 March 1958 in Beijing, China) is a Chinese film director, screenwriter and actor. He is well-known in China as a highly successful commercial filmmaker whose comedy films do consistently well at the box office, although Feng has broken out from that mold by making some drama and period drama films.

Hole in the Moon

Hole in the Moon (Hebrew: חור בלבנה; Hor B'Levana) is a 1964 Israeli avant-garde-satiric movie directed by Uri Zohar.The film was heavily influenced by the French New Wave, particularly the films of Jean-Luc Godard. It was a response to the Zionist dramas of the 1950s, and satirizes the form by showing the production of one of these films. Hole in the Moon is an avant-garde film, incorporating elements of metacinema and direct commentary on narrative cinema itself.

List of film distributors by country

This is a list of motion picture distributors, past and present, sorted alphabetically by country.

List of films featuring hallucinogens

This is a list of films featuring hallucinogens.

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