National Cinema

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  • Topic: China, Film, Chungking Express
  • Pages : 7 (2708 words )
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  • Published : September 18, 2011
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Is the label “national cinema” still a useful one? Critically evaluate the usefulness of the term in relation to at least two films from this course. 1. floating life
2. chunking express
3. my blueberry night

Like different countries have different culture, customs and give people different feeling, as an important part of one’s culture industry, movies from different places gives people different sense of feeling. That’s the magic of National cinema. But under the big trend of globalisation, we now can find movies made by multiple countries. In this essay, I will discuss if the label is still useful or not and evaluate the usefulness of this term through two films.

The term ‘National Cinema’ is often used to describe simply the films produced within a particular nation state. ()When taking up the notion of `national cinema' once more, it may be worth reflecting a moment on the question whether the cinema can and does function as an expression of national identity at all. Might the cinema not, rather, be valued and understood as the opposite of the national: a non-language-bound, trans-national cultural manifestation? ()

Talking about national cinema, we must look at the contemporary cinema.

Contemporary cinema, like other types of visual mass communication, is increasingly embedded in discourses of globalisation. However, as is the case with globalisation generally, its discrete manifestations are fu of paradox and tension. They are complex, heterogeneous phenomena, caught between their national or local origin, the homogenizing tendencies represented by the global village and its inroads on the particularities of the national, and the tendency for those at the receiving end of transnational cultural processes to reinterpret and reinvent extraneous cultural influences within their own field of mental vision, their own interpretive and behavioral currency.() To talk about a 'national cinema' is always to conjure up a certain coherence, that of the Nation. In this respect, it is quite clearly an idea with much historical and even more ideological ballast. A nation, especially when it claims cultural identity, must repress differences -of class, gender, race, religion and history- in order to assert its coherence. Does this not make the very term 'national identity' merely another name for internal colonization? Nation-hood and identity are not given, but gained, not inherited, but paid for. They exist in a field of force of inclusion and exclusion, as well as resistance and appropriation.() Why, then, apply it at all to the cinema? The simple fact is that it works: if not in theory, then in practice. For if we leave aside the term's mythologizing and mystifying element, we can see that it allows one to scoop up quite handily an otherwise unwieldy bulk: all the different films made by very different people in a given country over a not inconsiderable period of time. We can take this notion of a second skin quite literally. The history of cinema is deeply involved in the history of fashion and clothes, of interior design and outdoor hobbies, of taste and of tourism, depicting the objects we surround ourselves with, and in short, shaping and mirroring our life-styles (or those that our parents or grandparents used to aspire to). The cinema, for most of this century an integral part of a nation's commodity and consumer culture (which thanks to advertising is itself largely shaped by photography and the electronic image culture), is thus an almost inexhaustible record and database when searching for what Arthur Marwick calls 'witting or unwitting evidence of how people looked, lived, or behaved in the 20th century: the very fact hat so much audio-visual material exists has changed the way we think about history. In this sense, a national cinema is like the limbo in Dante's Divine Comedy - the realm of shadows, parading past in murmuring procession, close enough to touch and yet so far removed; always in motion and...
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