BCM111
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To Hollywood & Beyond!

Richard Lund's Photograph, 'Hollywood Sign at Night'.

Richard Lund’s Photograph, ‘Hollywood Sign at Night’.

The film industry has always been the production of lights, glamour and stars, and for many of us no star shines brighter than that of Hollywood’s. Each year, tourists from all around the world flock to the sun-kissed west coast of America, in hope of either seeing the stars or becoming the next biggest hit themselves. For me, Hollywood has always been the epitome of the film industry, however it wasn’t until our most recent lecture I realised that this is not entirely true. Bollywood, Nollywood and even the emergence of Hong Kong and Bombay film industries have began taking the film world by storm.

As globalisation continues to spread throughout our contemporary societies, the film industry too has been greatly affected. Such cultural hybridity is central to globalisation and is becoming increasingly evident within films around the globe, as other Eastern countries begin to ‘wrestle the control of global film from Western dominance’ (Schaefer, Karan, 2010). Indian culture in most recent years has also exerted a strong influence in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. This is evident in James Cameron’s Avatar, which has been highly influenced by Indian mythologies, thus introducing the concept of ‘Bollywoodization’.

James Cameron's Avatar (2010) Screenshot

James Cameron’s Avatar (2010) Screenshot

Such Hindu elements apparent in the film include the blue skin colour of the Na’vi characters, a colour which has been used within traditional Indian culture to depict the religious avatars Rama and Krishna (Jain, 2005); the plot of the film maintains a central focus on the avatar led offensives against invaders and as well as the Avatar characters’ reliance on traditional weaponry, such as bows and arrows. Most significantly however, is one of the most important themes explored and presented in the film – this being the motif of ‘seeing as understanding’ and the acceptance of ones’ surroundings and the circle of life. This is coherently linked to the Hindu concept of ‘darshan’, an ideology of ‘seeing and being seen by deities in order to receive blessings (Chatterjee, 2005).

Lord Rama as depicted in Indian Mythology, http://www.indiatemplesinfo.com

Lord Rama as depicted in Indian Mythology, http://www.indiatemplesinfo.com

Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry is also rapidly developing in growth and popularity, being titled the third largest film industry in the world. Now whilst Nollywood has emerged as a key player in the film industry, it does remain unique to other industries such as Bollywood and Hollywood. Nollywood films are never screened in cinemas and are released straight onto DVD’s available to the public. Its content is also heavily embedded by traditions and culture, with corruption being a key motif in the film. This I found to be rather interesting, as Nollywood explores the corruption of its society within its film, possibly as a moral device to educate viewers of possible wrong doings. Nollywood also has an incredibly high production rate with up to 30 new films being delivered to stalls and shops each week, truly demonstrating the significant growth of Nigeria’s film exports.

All in all, I now have a much more in-depth understanding of the international film industry, and I now can also understand how such three unique industries such as Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood can work together, have influence on each other, yet also remain unique entities in their own accord. Ultimately, as globalisation continues to develop and grow, who knows the places and heights it will allow our global film industries to achieve.

– BJS

References:

Chatterjee, G, 2005, ‘Icons and Events: Reinventing Visual Construction in Cinema in India, in R. Kuar and A. Sinha (eds) Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema Through a Transnational Lens, pp. 90-117. New Delhi: Sage

Jain, K, 2005, ‘Figures of Locality and Tradition: Commercial Cinedma and the Networks of Visual Print Capitalism in Maharashtra’, in R. Kaur and A. Sinha (eds), Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema Through a Transnational Lens, pp. 309-29, New Delhi: Sage

Schaefer, D and Karan, K, 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Examining Patterns of Hybridity in post- Colonial Popular Indian Cinema’. Paper presented at the Pre-conference ‘The Chindia Challenge to Global Communication’, International Communication Association Annual Conference, Singapore, June 22nd.

Sukhmani Khorana, 2014, ‘Global Film Beyond Hollywood: Industry Focus’, lecture notes, BCM111, UOW, viewed 22nd August

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