The global cinema market is today, more than ever transnational. Arguably it has always been transnational, elements of different cultures inspiring plot lines, influencing acting and directing and demonstrating the power of film to transcend national boundaries. So today when we think of cinema, it goes far beyond Hollywood!
“Blurring the boundaries between the modern and the traditional, the high and low culture, and the national and the global culture.” (Thussu, 2006, p 175 in Karan & Schaefer
, 2010, p 309)
Transnational films provide a medium where mediascapes and ethnoscapes collide. Therefore, today, it is more difficult to simply define a blockbuster as solely part of one nation or media industry like Hollywood. In fact, Hollywood is not even the largest film industry in the world! It’s not even in second place!
As in the above image, the film-making capacity of the Indian (Bollywood) and Nigerian (Nollywood) Film industries surpasses that of Hollywood. With the contributions of these massive industries, the worldwide production of feature films is booming!
As Sophie MacBain outlines in her article, ‘Ooray for ‘Ollywoods, there are some striking differences between the top three ‘Ollywood film industries. For example, Nollywood films, on average take 10 days to film and produce in comparison to the average 36 month process in Hollywood, providing an explanation for the influential growth of non-western film industries (MacBain 2012).
Without a doubt, Hollywood films perform well on an international scale, but the growth and potential of Bollywood, Nollywood and other global film industries are set to provide international competition. Perhaps this example of film participating in globalisation will contribute to more hybrid and transnationally recognised films in the future.
One prime example of a hybrid/transnational film is James Cameron’s 2009 Epic Avatar, which drew inspiration from native-American themes and ancient Hindu beliefs and traditions ( Karan & Schaefer, 2010, p 311). Elements such as the blue skin of the Na’vi in the film as well as the word ‘avatar’ relating to the belief of incarnation in Hinduism draw from the traditional Indian Ramayana story. As in the two following clips of the 2009 Blockbuster’s trailer and a depiction of Ramayana there are striking similarities particularly in relation to ideas of indigenous culture (through music) as well as appearance.
This begs us to question where (as in from which country or culture) does a film originate? With this notion of transnational films, that is quite difficult to answer.
Thanks for your time…
Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ (2010) ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’ Gl obal Media and Communication Vol 6: 3, pp. 309-316