Week 4: Global Film: Beyond Hollywood – Industry Focus

When you think of the entertainment industry, celebrities, the glitz and glamour, tabloid magazines, you automatically think of Hollywood and whilst it is the most well-known entertainment production centre in the Western world, it does not necessarily deem it the largest in terms of audience and production rate. It is in fact the third largest film industry in the world, following Bollywood (India) as the first and Nollywood (Nigeria) as the second.

 

Bollywood is the Mumbai-based Indian movie industry and despite producing over 1000 films annually and being “… about twice the size of Hollywood and has a global following of millions, being watched by around 3.2 billion people world-wide” (Bandyopadhyay 2008), Western audiences aren’t fully aware of vast audience base and just how successful this film industry is. The same can be said for the Nigerian industry in which Nollywood produced 1,687 feature films in 2007 (Okome 2007). Thirty new titles are delivered to Nigerian shops weekly and on average a film sells 50,000 copies. It takes on a somewhat grassroots approach by having low production quality (in the name of cost), adopting melodramatic storylines and often having magical culture and corruption as the motif and not adhering to Western influences; this is what makes it relatable to Nigerian audiences and the major reason behind its success.

 

These are separate entities to Hollywood and in no way do they consciously interact but with the rise of globalisation and the ease of cultural influence, there are many foreign influences on both and most especially within Hollywood. The inclusion and representation of other cultures by Hollywood can be considered a form of co-opting and or hybridity. Co-optation is the process by which one group gains converts from another group by attempting to replicate the aspects that they find appealing without adopting the full program or ideals. This differs to hybridity in that a hybrid is a cross between two separate races or cultures and is something that is mixed.

 

The blockbuster 2009 film Avatar contains references to Indian mythology through the blue coloured skin of the na’vi people being reference to the colour traditionally used for depicting the religious avatars Rama and Krishna and having a plot focusing on an avatar-led offensive against foreign invaders which mimics the centuries-old Indian political tradition of using the Ramayana storyline and the 2008 film, Slumdog Millionaire giving the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire a twist and showing the west’s interpretation of India (Karan & Schaefer 2010).

 

 

 

Bandyopadhyay, R 2008, ‘Nostalgia, identity and tourism: Bollywood in the Indian diaspora,’ Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, San Jose State University, California, United States, vol. 6, no. 2

 

Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ (2010) ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’ Global Media and Communication Vol 6: 3, pp. 309-316

 

Okome, O (2007). ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’ Postcolonial text 3.2

 

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