Dec 22 2004

Pivotal Year in Film? TV and Globalization Tighten Grip on Film

Published by at December 22, 2004 10:30 pm under Global Culture,Globalization

It’s hard to tell now, but in the future, 2004 could be seen as one of the pivotal years in the history of Japanese cinema. This is not necessarily because of the quality of films released–and there were a number of great films–but because of hints of fundamental shifts in the industry and its relation to the global marketplace.

It is significant that the most successful film with Japanese actors in the domestic market this year was not even a Japanese-made film, but The Last Samurai. That was only one of a number of foreign-made films–most released in 2003 in the United States–that underlined the strong interest that exists in Japanese pop culture on a global scale

Heterogeneity and cultural border crossings can be a good thing, especially for a Japan that was long an exclusionary nation, but this trend is not exactly new. Independent filmmakers have been deconstructing the myth of Japanese homogeneity for over a decade…

What is different about the current internationalization is not just the watering down, the turning of cultural difference into commodities to consume, but–and this is probably the origin of those side effects–the fact it’s now taking place in the major studios. What these global institutional moves threaten to do is further distance the majors from the minors and further undermine an already unfairly hampered independent industry through the force of big capital, especially in television.

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