Books called "guides" or "companions" provide a general orientation to a subject. Much like a tour guide book, a film guide points the reader to the best known and most important movies and directors, illuminates some of the history and background, and perhaps notes some intriguing side issues (or even tells a few amusing stories). You can use these books as a way to introduce yourself to an area of cinema.
The animated movie guide. Jerry Beck Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Review; Lancaster: Gazelle Drake Academic, 2005.
SML Reference, NC1765 .B367X 2005+
Asian cinema: a field guide. Tom Vick. New York: Collins, 2007.Bass Stacks, PN1993.5.A75 V53X 2007 Oversize
Bent lens: a world guide to gay and lesbian film. Lisa Daniel and Claire Jackson. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 2003.
SML Reference, PN1995.9 H55 B38 2003
The BFI companion to Eastern European and Russian cinema. Ed. Richard Taylor [et al.]. London: British Film Institute, 2000.
SML Stacks, PN1993.5 E82 B45 2000 (LC)
Bollywood: a guidebook to popular Hindi cinema.Tejaswini Ganti. New York: Routledge, 2013.
The Columbia companion to American history on film: how the movies have portrayed the American past. Ed. Peter C. Rollins. New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 2003. Also Online here
SML Reference, PN1995.9 U64 C65 2003
Guide to African cinema. Sharon A. Russell. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.
Bass Stacks, PN1993.5 A35 R87X 1998
Lesbian Film Guide. Alison Darren. London; New York: Cassell, 2000.
Bass Stacks, PN1995.9 L48 D37 2000
A new guide to Italian cinema. Carlo Celli and Marga Cottino-Jones. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
Bass Stacks, PN1993.5.I88 C45X 2007
The off-Hollywood film guide: the definitive guide to independent and foreign films on video and DVD. Tom Wiener. New York: Random Houses, 2002.
Bass Stacks, PN1995.9.F67 W54X 2002
Rough guide to gangster movies. Lloyd Hughes. London: Rough Guides, 2005.
Bass Stacks, PN1995.9 G3 H84 2005
Rough guide to sci-fi movies. John Scalzi. London: Rough Guides, 2005.
Bass Stacks, PN1995.9 S26 S14 2005
The Routledge companion to philosophy and film. Ed. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London; New York : Routledge, 2009.
SML Stacks, PN1994 .R574X 2009
Variety international film guide. London: Andre Deutsch; Hollywood: Samuel French, 1989-
SML Stacks, PN1993.3 I575 (LC)
Women in film: an international guide. Ed. Annette Kuhn with Susannah Radstone. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1990.
Bass Stacks, PN1995.9 W6 W655 1990