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The World in American Movies

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Alan Siegel

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of The World in American Movies

Cultivation Theory Developed by George Gerbner in 1970s and 1980s

States that television cultivates a worldview that, although possibly inaccurate, becomes the reality because people believe it to be so.

Think of this idea, but modified to fit film due to the popularity and mass appeal of films Action Films Recurring theme of action movies: other countries/cultures are set-dressing for Americans to blow up or save (or both).

Foreigners tend to be either passersby or villains. Otherness in American Cinema Hollywood tends to create characterization in their films based off of a dichotomy between 'Us' and 'The Other'.

Us - Americans and those who associate/ally with American characters
-'Good Guys'
The Other - Foreigners.
-'Bad Guys' Self Discovery:
think and guide yourself with
your heart, not your head Alan Siegel, Matt Mulligan, Zoe Ching, Spencer Byrne-Seres The World in American Movies Media Imperialism

- this theory is often applied to Hollywood

Why: because critics view Hollywood as a capitalist production company, capable of exporting their films globally

Negative Impact: an over-concentration of Hollywood ideals and representations means negative outcomes for smaller and less powerful nations. Portrayals of The Others HOLLYWOOD
represented on an international level What are people saying?

- this represents America's leading export commodity

- the preeminent storyteller of our time

- if Hilter was given access to the resources of Hollywood, he could control the world

- What Does This Mean?

Cultural Convergence
OR
Cultural/Media Imperialism
AND
Cultivation Theory Romantic Comedies 6) Eat Pray Love
7) The Holiday Escapism
- start a whole new life: new love, new friends etc Driven by plot not location 1) Like Crazy
2) Leap Year
3) Just Married 8) Under the Tuscan Sun
9) Eat Pray Love - a Fantasy world where anything is possible

- you will find crazy love 4) When in Rome
5) Midnight in Paris Cultural Convergence Hollywood messages carry universal appeal - resonating with the individual.

Bringing together cultures due to similar dreams and Westernized values of self discovery and self empowerment through life's adversities. Cultural Convergence Hollywood messages carry universal appeal - resonating with the individual.

Bringing together cultures due to similar dreams and Westernized values of self discovery and self empowerment through life's adversities. -Exploitation

-Otherness

-Freedom Comedy Movies: Exploitation: -Use of cultural differences as humor

-Perpetuation of stereotypes

-Appropriation of foreign traditions Otherness: -Anthropological mystique

-Third world backdrop

-Search for meaning, spiritual fullfilment

-Appropriation of foreign traditions/rituals

-Seach for authenticity Freedom: -What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

-Escape and liberation from American values, laws

-Inhibition and willingness to be daring

-Female sexual liberation Foreign Lands are generally characterized as Chaotic, Wild, Hostile, Dangerous, etc.

Foreign Peoples are essentially 'put to the test' in the audiences mind.
-If they hail from Native English Speaking countries, they tend to be allied with the Americans; and thus, 'Good Guys'.
-If they hail from Non-native English Speaking countries, they are distrusted by the audience until individuals proved themselves otherwise. Following the Money These characterizations can be explained by correlations to Box Office revenues.

Hollywood has a 1 to 1 revenue ratio domestic and abroad.

The vast majority of revenue is generated from the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Implications of Globalizing Markets As Hollywood continues to Globalize, it risks losing audiences by characterizing them as "Bad Guys".

Thus, although foreign lands may be hostile, the individual characters who are developed are very 'human' and relatable giving such audiences a good representation to sympathize and identify with, despite whole cultures being mis-represented.
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