Film Industries: A Cultural War

National media industries all over are being faced with a kind of cultural homogenisation and as such are now producing local content for a larger audience to associate a global audience. With the rate of globalisation on the rise, pop media is churning out trends anyone can participate in to a point where these trends are infiltrating cultures in a kind of cultural imperialism (often seen as flowing from the west to the east). As a response to this, audiences are turning to the internet to find something ‘refreshing’, this is where glocalised content comes in.

Productions by world region
The Middle East and Asia are just as big as if not bigger media industries than any other Western nation.

The Defense

David Schaefer and Kavita Karan discuss the topic of glocalisation and hybridity in their article, “Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows”. They identify glocalisation as, “where human agents self-consciously and creatively combine local with global cultural formations in a bid to subvert potentially homogenizing forces associated with cultural imperialism”. In this, Shaefer and Karan are saying by hybridising local content with popular global trends, film industries such as India and Hong Kong’s are making a place for themselves in the market instead of conforming to westernised patterns.

Oldboy (2003) Poster
Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy is an award winning Koren thriller reminiscient of a Hollywood action flick but with the intense brutality local to a Korean produced film.

The Neutral

At the same time of all this, there is a film industry developing outside the borders of any nation, this is the transnational film industry. Transnational films are those with no specific place in the world, they may be produced in one nation, filmed in another with a foreign director and cast. “Transnational cinema encourages a shift away from films with a national brand which ultimately would present a shift in critical thinking“; what this post on presents is that transnational film is an extreme hybrid film without the restrictions of a culture or national influence, creating a platform for global issues to be presented in film and accessed in a public sphere.

The Dark Knight (2008) Poster
Consider Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’. Filmed in America with a British director and cast and crew from all over the world

The Attack

The final thing to think about is cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is the act of taking elements of a culture and using them in a way that doesn’t incorporate their original meaning, essentially, stealing cultural aspects. This would happen in a film that takes influence from a culture but doesn’t reference or address it appropriately. The popularisation of an appropriated culture can devoid it of meaning as a culture, re working it as all access pop material. E.g tribal tattoos without reason.

Avatar (2009) Poster
James Cameron’s Avatar has been scrutinised for it’s themes and story which appears similar to stories from the Hindu culture but the film doesn’t recognise the origins of it’s story.

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