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Culture, Politics, and Globalization- Critical Review of films - Essay Example

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Culture, Politics, and Globalization- Critical Review of films

Introduction The sudden popularity of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, the overwhelming response it received across the world and its clean sweep at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony were phenomenal events in the world of cinema (Coleman, 2010). While one would expect that the advent of globalization and the rapid use of technology would enable a broader perspective in the west over the Indian and other Asian cultures, the influence of the movie and the excitement surrounding it among viewers from western countries suggests that the east continues to be mystic and distant from the rest of the world. Main Arguments Coleman (2010) says that the East-West demarcation and lack of understanding have existed since colonial times and have often portrayed developing economies in distorted ways that benefited politics in the west. It is this social and economic divide that led to the categorization of eastern cultures under the umbrella of ‘Orientalism’ (Nash, 2010). In many ways, orientalism has served as a tool that was used to assert control and domination over the east. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, released in 2008, is a recent example that attempts to cast western views on India, despite its recent economic advances. Coleman (2010) states that orientalism is a culture’s (the west’s in this case) way of recognizing its own place. In this context, entertainment is an experience that manifests itself to convey this notion (Eriksen, 2007). Besides delivering an exotic experience and mass entertainment, movies like

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‘Slumdog Millionaire’ has allowed the west to establish its own identity. In fact, the west defines every element inherent in orientalism, be it the community, order or personality as being in contrast to western values and perceptions, and as such inferior in all aspects (Lentner, 2010). The wider expanses of the media and the rapid pace at which information can be disseminated have further contributed to such contortions (Said, 2003). It is clear that the movie degrades religions like Hinduism and casts the common Indian as backward and untrustworthy. It depicts that violence is a core aspect in the lives of average Indians and attempts to create horror and despair among western viewers by showcasing communal riots and forced child labor as everyday events. In one scene, a touring American couple witnesses a child being beaten ruthlessly for stealing a few car parts (Lentner, 2010). When told by Jamal (their tourist guide) that this was the ‘real India’, the American couple hand out a $100 note, attributing their action to the ‘Real America’. Scenes such as these reflect the spatial inequality between the two cultures besides signifying the imperial nature of the film. Violence is portrayed throughout the movie (Held, 2009). Besides the communal riots, violence and crime are displayed in the form of kidnapping, torture and rape, depicting all such contact zones as perilous for overseas viewers (Held, 2009). In ways, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ attempts to uphold the oriental views of the famous German Philosopher Hegel (Nash, 2010). By stating that the history of the world began and concluded with the west, Hegel argued that countries such as India did not have a history of their own. He believes that the west is far superior and better than the east, given its economic might and territorial conquests over the

Summary

Culture, Politics and Globalization Purpose Culture and politics vary considerably across geographical regions. In fact, such variations are shaped through over considerable periods of time and driven by numerous precedents. As individuals, we constantly seek to understand and compare perspectives from other cultures against our own traits…
Culture, Politics, and Globalization- Critical Review of films
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