Ed Jahiel writes:
"In Madrid, London, Paris, Barcelona, Geneva, Athens, Brussels, etc.
(speaking from first-hand knowledge) there is a wealth of films from around
Esp.in Paris, between the Cinematheque Francaise and Beaubourg, and the
hundreds of cinemas (some showing over 12 titles a week), world cinema is a
permanent feast. And in the French film magazines, every nation is
discussed. Not just the films of Tarantino and "Forrest Gump."
There seems to be a wonderful amount of film movement in New York City. But
that's a rarity I think."
Without having any particular expertise in these matters (which has never
stopped me before :-) ), I'd agree, but that raises some questions that
perhaps our international correspondents can address:
1. What is film consciousness in Europe (or elsewhere) outside major
2. Within such metropolitan centers, what percentage of the population
actively cares about non-American and/or non-native films?
3. Given the immense commercial impact of American cinema on the rest of
the world (where Hollywood can often recoup losses from a domestic
"disaster"), how does that affect the film culture of any given nation?
4. In Europe, what role does the developing European community play?
When I interviewed a (then) Soviet filmmaker a few years ago, he mentioned
his chief influences as some of the European modernists (eg. Bergman) but
even more American directors, Spielberg being at the top of the list. Is
American cinema seen as a source of rivalry, an inducement to the creation
of new national cinemas, as a source of opportunity to aspire to, or other?
Ed's point about his student's lack of interest in foreign films is, I'm
afraid, echoed on our own campus, where there was never any significant
student support for the film society I tired to run for a few years. But
then, even among our literature students, I find myself often faced with
an attitude from many (not all, by any means) that tacitly seems to say,
"Don't teach me anything that I don't think I already know!"
By economic necessity, perhaps, audiences in Europe and around the world
are inundated by American products--but what is their reaction to
presentations of other cultures, to departures from cinematic narrative
and stylistic norms?
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN