A shift from national branded films to partnerships of different countries coming together to form a film is encouraged within the film industry, with many elements being explored such as cast, production location and crew, a ‘transnational’ film can dramatically change the way in which an audience perceives the film.
‘As noted by Ritzer (2007), cultural hybridity is central to glocalization, where human agents self-consciously and creatively combine local with global cultural formations in a bid to subvert potentially homogenizing forces associated with cultural imperialism (Schiller, 1991).’ (6)
An example of this would be ‘The dark Knight’ a film shot in America with distinctive English protagonists. The film therefore isn’t British, ‘it can’t be defined under one nation thus welcoming the idea of Transnationalism.’(1)
With a greater push towards the idea of ‘transnational film’ we see issues of cultural appropriation surface. The films created are viewed as having ‘borrowed’ different cultural elements and can often be portrayed negatively from the culture that they have borrowed from.
An example of this would be Johnny Depp’s character, ‘Tonto’ in the film,’The lone ranger’ released in 2013. Here we see Native American elements, both misleading and stereotypicalized. ‘Although Johnny Depp claimed to be using the role as an opportunity to ‘salute’ the Native American culture and ‘fix years of Native American misrepresentation in Hollywood’’ (2) it was anything but.
That was just one example, there are many different examples of the ways in which we culturally appropriate different elements of culture. This could even include fashion:
So how far is too far? When most artists or people are questioned regarding ‘borrowing’ a culture. They state that they are ‘honouring’ a culture, but in doing so they stereotypicalize what the culture is about rather than the significance of the elements being used. An example of this would be the use of a tradition bindi, worn by women in Hindu Dharma, a red bindi signifies that the woman is married (5) yet this once significant symbol is taken out of context as a fashion element used at festivals and daily outings by a ‘culture’ or ‘group’, that don’t have a clear understand of what it signifies.
The groups who borrow a culture are often unaware of the significance and tend to do things against the significance or beliefs of the element being borrowed. This is evident when we look at girls at social events such as a festival, wearing a bindi yet drinking, and performing in sexual acts while single. This is a negative portrayal and image being projected through the use of a cultural element.
Many state that as long as you aren’t degrading or mocking that culture, you aren’t at any risk of culturally appropriating in a negative way. However, will we ever truly know if it is appropriate or not? The controversial arguments that surround this particular definition confuse many, whether honoring and respecting the cultural element, we need to tread carefully when borrowing elements of different cultures, understanding the significance behind such cultural elements.
(1)What Is Transnational Cinema? – Transnational Cinema & Online Culture. 2015. What Is Transnational Cinema? – Transnational Cinema & Online Culture. [ONLINE] Available at: http://358695.weebly.com/what-is-transnational-cinema.html. [Accessed 04 September 2015].
(2) Transnational Cinema and Cultural Appropriation | fluffy capybaras. 2015.Transnational Cinema and Cultural Appropriation | fluffy capybaras. [ONLINE] Available at:https://fluffycapybaras.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/transnational-cinema-and-cultural-appropriation/. [Accessed 04 September 2015].
(3) Guess we can add Victoria’s Secret to the list | Native Appropriations. 2015.Guess we can add Victoria’s Secret to the list | Native Appropriations. [ONLINE] Available at: http://nativeappropriations.com/2012/11/guess-we-can-add-victorias-secret-to-the-list.html. [Accessed 04 September 2015].
(4) Does cultural appropriation in pop music even matter? | NOISEY. 2015.Does cultural appropriation in pop music even matter? | NOISEY. [ONLINE] Available at: http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/blog/does-cultural-appropriation-in-pop-music-even-matter-oneofthoseface. [Accessed 04 September 2015].
(5) What does the Bindi signify?. 2015. What does the Bindi signify?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.innovateus.net/innopedia/what-does-bindi-signify. [Accessed 04 September 2015].
(6) Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ (2010) ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, 6: 3, pp. 309-316.