Global Film

I know your milk is homogenised, but are your movies? To explore the world of global film we looked at homogenisation and hybridisation, and the idea of the division of Global North and South when it comes to film creation.

Powerful countries are able to make films that are spread around without much alteration. Mainly movies coming out of Hollywood, with big-name directors and actors. They are accepted into new cultures as they are. This process is homogenisation. The ulterior occurs when movies are made and then upon spreading they are reinterpreted and remade by their new adoptive cultures or nations. This process is the theory behind the hybridisation model. This model encourages globalisation and the spread and acceptance of other culture.

Visual representation of Global North and South

Global North and South are terms used in media to separate the more developed countries from the developing countries. North are generally wealthier and consist of countries such as North America, Australia, Russia, Britain, and many European and South-East Asian Countries. When we combine these terms with the models of homogenisation and hybridisation, we can better understand how both work. Most commonly, countries in the Global North will create bigger films as they have larger industries, Hollywood being the prime example, and then these filter through to the countries in the Global South, where they often take aspects from and hybridise these films to suit their culture and market.

I’ve recently watched the film ‘Mother’ on Netflix, directed by Darren Aronofsky. It is an American-made film, with primary American lead actors. I don’t want to spoil it by speaking too much on the plot, but it primarily is a thriller/psychological horror film following the life of a couple whose tranquil life is interrupted when visitors start coming in unannounced to their isolated country home.

Theatrical poster for ‘Mother!”

The whole film draws parallels to the biblical stories of God and Mother Earth, Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel. It is very much a film that can cross national and cultural barriers, as it uses the Bible, an international religious text, as a base for telling it’s story. Without having any knowledge of the aspects of Christianity, this film would be quite contrived and hard to understand. The fact that Christianity is practised almost worldwide makes this film and it’s themes easy to translate through cultural boundaries.

Not all films are as easy to interpret though. Especially when you don’t even know the language. An important factor to consider when these films are being homogenised is that the literal translation doesn’t always make sense. There are quite a few phrases in English that are nonsense in French, and vice versa. Hybridisation can in some cases, such as that with Kung-Fu Panda 3, re-direct whole sections of films in order to make them more understandable to new audiences. Which is pretty damn cool.

There’s much more to films than just the name and language. Next time you sit down to watch a movie, maybe you’ll think a little deeper as to how exactly it has reached you. I know I will.


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