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What are the potential benefits and pitfalls in promoting a new cinema that places its emphasis on issues of identity and difference - Essay Example

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When motion pictures were first devised in the late 19th century, it was viewed as a medium for documentation of historical artefacts, in much the same way as still photographs were regarded.By the early 20th century the value of motion pictures as a form of entertainment and education was firmly established…
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What are the potential benefits and pitfalls in promoting a new cinema that places its emphasis on issues of identity and difference
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Download file to see previous pages When motion pictures were first devised in the late 19th century, it was viewed as a medium for documentation of historical artefacts, in much the same way as still photographs were regarded. By the early 20th century the value of motion pictures as a form of entertainment and education was firmly established; however, it is only in the recent past, during the period of globalization, that the capability of film as a powerful tool for cultural dissemination has been recognized. Academic studies have turned to a determination of the effect of film in creating cross-cultural bridges between societies. A recent genre of film has been developed that explored the clashes among cultural influences and the ensuing resistance, assimilation, or adaptation of these elements. What emerges is the depiction of the evolution of identity, its definition in contemporary terms, and its differentiation from the status quo. There are both benefits and pitfalls to this new mode of filmmaking, which this paper will explore. It is however important to first describe the nuances of identity and differentiation, that becomes a defining force in the creation of motion pictures. Issues of identity and difference The driver for the depiction of cultural identity and its differentiation from “the other” is born by a universal need for public recognition of the distinctiveness of societies. The desire to preserve identity in one form or another is in response to the challenges of multiculturalism and the politics of recognition in democratic societies. The cultural context is valued by individuals as among their basic interests, and their right to this is universal. The problem resides, however, is in the reconciliation of the conflicting content of the various valued cultures. This implies limits that must be placed on political recognition of particular cultures (Amy Gutmann, 1994: 3). In Liberal democracies, citizenship cannot be regarded as a comprehensive universal identity, for the reasons that: (1) people are unique, self-creating, and creative individuals; and (2) people are also “culture-bearing” whose cultures differ depending on their past and present identifications (Amy Gutmann, 1994: 7). Citizenship, therefore, is a unifying and equalizing factor in terms of rights; it does not, however, erase cultural distinctiveness. The liberal value of diversity should not be associated with the nullification, but rather the expansion and preservation of the “cultural, intellectual, and spiritual horizons of all individuals,” enriching and exposing us to differing intellectual and cultural perspectives, allowing for growth, exploration and enlightenment (Amy Gutmann, 1994: 9) The problem of cultural homogenization and cultural heterogenization is that there exists the indigenization of new cultural influences as they are constantly introduced into mainstream society (Arjun Appadurai). The new global cultural economy may no longer be understood in terms of simple models involving centers and peripheries, but instead as “a complex, overlapping, disjunctive order”. An elementary framework for exploring these disjunctures is suggested by Arjun Appadurai involves “five dimensions of global cultural flow”: (1) ethnoscapes; (2) mediascapes; (3) technoscapes; (4) finanscapes; and (5) ideoscapes. Each of these dimensions is a deeply imbued with historical, linguistic, and political context of nation-states, multinationals, diasporic communities (i.e., sharing common national or ethnic identity), and other such aggrupations. The five dimensions form the multiple worlds that are constituted by historically situated collective imaginations of persons and groups flung to various parts of the world (Appadurai, 2003). Deterritorialization generally is one of the major phenomena in contemporary times. It results from the mass movement of people of similar culture to other ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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