FILMS BESIDES ‘FORREST GUMP’

When you’re apart of westernised culture and you live in a western society, it’s not often that you’re exposed to things outside of this realm. Unless you go travelling and/or seek cultural differences, usually your world is enriched by everything and anything western. It takes quite a lot for another type of cultural influence to actually snake it’s way in there. And being apart of westernised culture, we assume that everyone around the world wants to be on the same page as us… “yeah they’re different, but they all strive for the types of things that we have.” Not true. Just because films, television programs, and music etc. that display western culture make the big bucks, doesn’t always mean they leave the longest lasting impression.

Looking at ‘Nollywood’ and Korean Cinema, we can see how other cultures attempt (and succeed) to make connections with people of their culture. Nollywood (Nigeria’s film industry) is the third largest in the world. Directors in this industry adopt new technology as soon as it’s available and affordable for them. The films in this industry are mass produced; new titles sell in market stalls and shops an average of 50,000 copies. “one of the characteristics that marks Nollywood as an autonomous local cinematic expression is that it looks inward and not outward” (Okome, p. 1 ). The fanbase for Nollywood films is starting to grow now that they are being shown at film festivals around the world and getting the type of attention that they deserve.

Although, being apart of a western audience, I do have to question how much these types of films would/could “take off”. We are used to viewing blockbuster films with top quality CGI and oscar-winning actors– could Nollywood films really take a legitimate seat with us when our standards are already set so high? Yes, we love a low-budget indie film– but, it’s gotta be grabbing and clever and different. My point being, maybe Nollywood films are a bit too different for western audiences to grab onto; they might have some good themes, but have they got the punch?

Then of course there’s Korean cinema, which has completely taken off all over Asia. Pop culture in South Korea is extremely influential across Asia, particularly in Japan. Which means that films produced out of this are obviously going to be very popular in a lot of Asian countries. These types of films focus on a lot of relevant issues for teenagers across Asia, particularly surrounding the family environment. But because this realm of cinema is so vastly different from western culture, it’s much harder for it to branch out on a global scale.

While both Nollywood and Korean cinema might be some of the highest grossing film industries across the world, it’s uncertain whether or not they will reach and have an impact on western audiences. We can only hope that viewers will break down their standards and expectations for films and be able to view this type of cinema in a new light and possibly develop and appreciation for it.

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