The world in which cinema grew up was one of constant change, not always for the better. There was technological change, of which the cinema itself was part. There were wars and revolutions, leading to changes in the world order. There was social and demographic change as more and more people across the world entered into the orbit of global capitalism. ‘Cinema and the outer world’ explains how cinema recorded and reflected these changes, but how it also changed or was forced to change in response to them. The cinema also played a major role in shaping the world, or at least what we imagine the world to be.