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November 2001, Week 5


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John Dougill <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 29 Nov 2001 09:12:36 -0800
text/plain (54 lines)
I always use Dances with Wolves for this purpose.  The Costner character has
to learn how to communicate with a different culture and in a different
language.  Through being open-minded, he moves from complete ignorance to
integration, though not without problems along the way.  By the end of the
film he has become a different person - no longer John Dunbar but Dances
with Wolves.  The processes of cultural change are very clearly delineated.
When he is faced with his fellow soldiers again, the differences between
them are painfully clear, and he sides with his former enemy...

Another film of interest is Heaven and Earth which follows a Vietnamese girl
to the US, where she has cultural problems; the Joy Luck Club shows Chinese
immigrants discovering freedom, while Wedding Banquet shows the crossing of
sexual as well as cultural borders in the US for Taiwanese immigrants.  And
Stranger than Paradise 'is about a self-styled New York hipster (John Lurie
of the Lounge Lizards) who is paid a suprise and quite unwelcome visit by
his pretty sixteen-year-old Hungarian cousin. From initial hostility and
indifference a strange affection grows between the two exiles.'

A rather simple film whose main point is cultural problems and frictions is
Mr Baseball - 'A fading baseball player is traded to a Japanese team and has
trouble fitting into the society.'  If you're not worried about high
quality, this is very graphic in its presentation of changes in attitudes
forced upon those who cross borders...


on 01.11.28 1:07 PM, Carol Donelan at [log in to unmask] wrote:

> A colleague of mine is looking for films with plots featuring cultural
> transition(s), i.e. someone going to a foreign country, or someone coming
> home, and in both cases having to make some cultural adjustments and/or
> resisting changes.
> Any ideas?
> Thanks for your input.
> Carol Donelan
> Media Studies Program
> Carleton College
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