Global Film: Searching Through New Woods

Move over Hollywood…
Bollywood and Nollywood are the film capitals to look out for.

Globalisation has allowed a shift within the direction of cultural influence in the film industries, from Western control to the Global South. This is blurring the  boundaries between modern and traditional, high and low culture, national and global culture.

Global film is changing with the emergence of East Asian and Indian film industries having an increasing bigger influence in modern day films. We can see these changes occurring in Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood where the rise of domestic film markets in places have made the global film market more varied and complex.

“Film industries are working together and within cinematic public spheres, filmmakers… [are] mixing both global and local elements to appeal to audience tastes and trends” (Schaefer & Karan, 2010: 309).

Bollywood is part of the mainstream Hindi cinema based in Mumbai, one of many cinemas produced in India, which vary in style and language. Bollywood and Indian cinema is the “world’s largest film industry” in terms of the number of films produced and people employed, though not of its finances. (Dwyer, 2006)

“Bollywoodization appears to have been absorbed into the conglomerate multicultural marketing toolkit, prompting us to question whose economic interest actually is being served by the soft power potential of the Indian film industry and its cinematic contra-flows” (Schaefer and Karan, 2010).

With cultural hybridity playing an important role in both film industries, we see mixing cultures such as Indian and Western.
A popular and well-know example is the recent block buster film ‘Avatar’, making an estimated $1.8437 billion since released. The 2009 film Avatar borrows a significant amount from Indian mythology and Hindu culture, referring to concepts such as reincarnation and worship of nature (Schaefer & Karan, 2010: 312).

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One prominent element introduced from Indian mythogy into the American film was ‘the blue skin colour of the Na’vi characters, the colour traditionally used for depicting the religious avatars Rama Krishna.  This can be seen through the comparison of the images, portraying elements of similarity in the body marking, clothing and the weapons that they use.

Another growing global film industry is Nollywood.
Nollywood is Nigeria’s film industry, the third largest film industry in the world.  The aim of their film’s ‘is to produce culture from the bottom of the street’, with one of its distinguishing characteristics being its tendency ‘looks inward and not outward’ This is a factor that differs from other global film industries. (Onookome Okome, 2007)

 Nollywood’s sole purpose was to bring the poorer African communities together in street sites and provide entertainment for a small donation. Their films have television aesthetics, looked down upon in Francophone film community due to much lower budgets than Hollywood (around $1500) and are produced in a much shorter time (sometimes no more then 10 days) (Corrigan, 2006).

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“While there is no doubt that Nollywood exhibits the hybrid character that is obvious in many forms of African popular arts, it is its acute notation of locality that gives it an unprecedented acceptability as the local cinematic expression in Nigeria and indeed in Africa…

Yet, the form and content of Nollywood narratives reminds the casual observer of the obvious ties it has to the complicated trade in global media images even when the point has been made of its unique place in world media culture” (Onookome Okome, 2007).

With increasing knowledge of the effects of globalisation and consuming of international films, we are able to see how film is taking on a cultural hybridity. There is increasing influences of Bollywood and Nollywood in the western world, creating an important and increasing role for global film.


References:

Corrigan 2006, About Nollywood, thisisNollywood.com, viewed 25th August 2014, <http://www.thisisnollywood.com/nollywood.htm> 

Dwyer, R 2006, ‘Bollywood’s new dream: Indian cinema has a global future in its sights,’ News Statesman, 30 January, viewed 21 August 2014, < http://www.newstatesman.com/node/152465&gt;

Okome, O (2007),  ‘Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption’, Postcolonial Text, Vol 3, No 2

Schaefer, D 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, ‘Global Media and Communication’, Los Angeles, pp. 309-316

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