‘Tomateo-Tomato’ and Intercultural Cinema

Film has a range of influences that can be read differently by a range of different audiences. What one culture may perceive as a ‘B grade’ appropriation of a popular film, another culture may class as ‘A grade’ renovation.

The term intercultural cinema is claimed to mean that film ‘is not the property of any single culture, but mediates in at least two directions. It accounts for the encounter between different cultural organisations of knowledge, which is one of the sources of intercultural cinema’s synthesis of new forms of expression and new kinds of knowledge’ (Marks 2000,  p.6-7).

Marks discusses, although a plot-line can be universally entertaining, the way that we create meaning from film is often based off our own understanding of cultures. For instance, within the film Bend it Like Beckham, there is a dominant western representation of the Indian culture living in London. The film attempts intercultural cinema, yet is problematic in structure when considering  the stereotypes it places upon Indian culture living in London. The film accentuates the western understanding of Indian culture, therefore it would create different response from an Indian audience. 

Additionally the award winning intercultural film, Slumdog Millionaire was made for the Western culture as stereotypical class structures of Third World India are presented through a western understanding. The film globally communicated hardships of poverty stricken India however, controversially underpaid indian actors prior to it’s successes.

When considering these two films are classified as intercultural cinema, I can’t help but question Mark’s definition. Is the knowledge we are gaining from intercultural films accurate and new? Because in the way that Australian culture is depicted onscreen seems like repercussions of cultural stereotypes. This is proven to be the same of the Indian culture within Bend it like Beckham and Slumdog Millionaire. The essence of intercultural cinema can then be seen as films that display expectations of a culture so the observing culture are engaged and can create meaning.

References

Marks, L. (2000). The skin of the film. Durham: Duke University Press.

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