Issues in Film Studies 2: Week 7


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Questions on Chinese Cinema & Globalization

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Issues in Film Studies 2: Week 7

  1. 1. Popular National Cinema & Globalization: China<br />Issues in Film Studies 2<br />Week Seven<br />
  2. 2. Transnational Cinema<br />The concept of transnational cinema is the product of a number of theories which consider the effects of globalization on film<br />Debates surrounding transnational cinema consider the impact of films, cinemas and personnel who cross or supersede national boundaries<br />The idea of transnational cinema challenges the concept of national cinema <br />
  3. 3. ‘The Concept of National Cinema’<br />Defining any national cinema is problematic<br />“To identify a national cinema is first of all to specify a coherence and unity; it is to proclaim a unique identity and a stable set of meanings” (Higson, 1989: 37)<br />The concept of national cinema has been developed as a way of resisting the cultural and economic hegemony of Hollywood<br />
  4. 4. Identifying National Cinema<br />Two methods for identifying the coherence or specificity of a national cinema:<br />By making comparisons between two cinemas<br />By exploring the nature of cinema in relation to other cultural forms from that nation<br />
  5. 5. Issues Raised by Higson<br />Economic approach<br />Many films are financed/distributed by international (often American) companies<br />Text-based approach<br />Can collapse differences between texts<br />Exhibition/consumption-focused approach<br />The majority of films that are screened in, for example, UK and European cinemas and are popular with the public are made in Hollywood<br />Criticism-led approach<br />Tends to privilege certain kinds of films over others, “citing what ought to be the national cinema…” (Higson, 1989: 37)<br />
  6. 6. Case Study: Harry Potter<br />Discuss in small groups:<br /><ul><li>Are the Harry Potter films British?
  7. 7. Think about the following areas:
  8. 8. Production
  9. 9. Financing
  10. 10. Distribution
  11. 11. Casting
  12. 12. The films themselves
  13. 13. Discourse about the films</li></li></ul><li>Globalization<br />According to a political economy approach, the success of Hollywood abroad has been “a coordinated, if sometimes conflictual and chaotic, attempt by capital and the state to establish and maintain a position of market and ideological dominance.” (Miller, 1998: 372)<br />“Critics [of globalization] claimed the rhetoric of development through commercialism was responsible for decelerating economic growth and disenfranchising local culture”, leading to a reliance of foreign capital and ideology. (Miller, 1998: 374)<br />
  14. 14. China’s Response to Hollywood<br />How has Chinese cinema responded to the dominance of Hollywood cinema?<br />Is Hero a challenge to American approaches/attitudes to representation and ideology?<br />How does Chinese cinema use codes and conventions from Hollywood?<br />
  15. 15. The Blockbuster & Ideology<br />Many film scholars view the blockbuster as a form of cinema which perpetuates conservative and reactionary values<br />They have argued that the use of spectacle and emotive techniques can make audiences susceptible to ideological messages<br />However, this argument relies on an out-dated model of media effects, so has been problematized in recent times<br />
  16. 16. Hero, spectacle & ideology<br />How does Hero compare with recent ‘historical’ Hollywood blockbusters?<br />Do you agree with the view that Hero tries to conceal its ideological agenda through the use of visual spectacle?<br />Do you think that audiences accept the views presented to them in movies?<br />Or are they part of a wider ideological apparatus, which is nationally specific?<br />
  17. 17. Globalization as a Process<br />Globalization is processual and “allows for incoherent, multi-lateral forms and directions of power, celebrating them as market flexibilities or sites of popular resistance.” (Miller, 1998: 376)<br />It has been suggested that “…the means of communication, association, and political representation are seen to be converging.” (Miller, 1998: 376)<br />
  18. 18. Influences on Hollywood<br />How have Chinese martial arts films influenced Hollywood cinema?<br />Can you give some examples of Hollywood films that use martial arts?<br />What do you think the purpose of this appropriation of a Chinese tradition is?<br />