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November 1997, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
"Gareth B." <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 10:53:05 -0700
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> *****  The question is more whether audiences are given a chance to see
> anything else.  India and Hong Kong are two obvious examples of countries
> that consistently and overwhelmingly prefer their own films over US or
> other imports.
That's true.  Audiences like to see themselves reflected on the screen.
Do you really want theatres here (USA) filled with Indian crank-'em-out
musical romances?  In terms of number of films made/year, India is #1,
or was several years ago.  Productivity doesn't mean a hell of a lot.
I went to medical school not far from Little Tokyo in downtown L.A.
where it was fun from time to time to take in a Japanese B movie without
subtitles.  These things were obviously made fast, the stories were
completely accessible, the humor tending toward slapstick, and some of
the stereotypes were so outrageous that no one NOT Japanese would ever
put them in a movie (for instance a bad guy who was fat, huge buck teeth
and lisp, coke-bottle-bottom glasses, thin moustache, carrying a Luger
-- sort of an ultimate US 1942 war movie villain).
 And of course, 6-day "Edo Dynasty" samurai flicks, the Japanese
equivalent of the 30s-to50s USA B westerns.
The point being: there is a huge quantity of non-USA cinema out there.
It never gets to the mainstream *in the USA* but it's in the mainstream
in its own culture.  Kurosawa is an amazing artist.  But he isn't the
be-all and end-all of Japanese cinema, any more than Kubrick is the
be-all and end-all of US cinema.
It's hard enough getting foreign distribution for a little horror movie
-- mine.  I rather imagine there are Japanese independent filmmakers who
are going crazy trying to get their films across the Pacific, too.
Paul E. Clinco
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