One of the fascinations of the Century of Cinema series produced by the British Film Institute is its global ambition to represent the diversity of cinema. As a result it's easy enough to gripe about all of the omissions and exclusions and 'problematic' representations in the series. As series producer Colin McCabe, faced with the massive task he had set for himself, put it: 'The solution came with the decision to abandon the quest for a total history, to opt instead for individual essays... and trust that from an incredible variety of approaches something of the complexity of the century of cinema would emerge.' An interesting wager - but what strikes me about many of the resulting sixteen films of the Century of Cinema series is how often they present simplistic reactions to, rather than complex responses to, globalization. What I think we can see in the Century of Cinema are some clear examples of how economic and political pressures on media production support certain ways of negotiating a marketable identity but compromise critical reflection on the meaning of the nation and the role of media in our lives.