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Hollywood vs World Cinema

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Big budget blockbusters. Big name stars. Does this lead to a big profit for Hollywood? What does World Cinema gain from its films? Sarah Birchall investigates the ideas behind Hollywood’s plot and World Cinemas benefits. When you think of Hollywood films? What word comes to mind? Predictable” and “Formulaic”? Well, if you answered yes to this question then you have accurately described most Hollywood films. Whilst there may be some good all- round films that you can sit and laugh along to or be blown away by, without having to really think about what is going on, there are many disadvantages too.

When you watch most blockbusters, you always seem to get the same plot. No twists, no complicated messages or controversial themes to the film that makes your mind think. It’s predictable and that is why younger audiences are attracted to it. When you are young you don’t want to go to the cinema and have to follow every single detail of the film, you want to watch something that will make you laugh, have action and be simple. You want to be able to escape and just relax and let the film carry you along without having to work for the enjoyment. Hollywood cinema provides all of this.

On the other hand, the term World Cinema refers to films not produced in Hollywood or America. These films are produced in other continents such as Africa, India and Europe. When teenagers see this, they think that the film is not as good. You don’t have your well- known stars that you know will give you a good show. You don’t have the flashy CGI effects that blow you away. Another thing World Cinema contains is subtitles. Most of the films have subtitles because the film is in a different language to English. Most teenagers find that the eye gets distracted by these subtitles and they can’t watch the action going on screen.

These films are rarely seen by a young audience because they are not predictable. World Cinema blockbusters trigger all emotions and create messages and themes that you have to follow with detail to get the plot of the story. Another reason young people do not watch World Cinema as much as Hollywood Cinema is because World Cinema target more controversial ideas around the world. Some of these topics unnerve younger audiences because perhaps people don’t want to face the truth at a young age. World Cinema is not as high profile as Hollywood cinema. Only selected cinemas show these types of films because they are not mainstream cinema.

This is why World Cinema has a select audience and is limited. However, World Cinema can offer a great alternative to big budget blockbusters because the films are all different. They have their own spark about the film and they all emit different messages about everyday actions in life. Even though, you don’t have your amazing CGI affects, you usually have a more reality based film that draws you in because of curiosity. The films are generally thought provoking and they offer something gritty and rawer than Hollywood blockbusters that are all enhanced.

If you crave a film that is different because of its nature for real like backgrounds and shot on location scenes, then World Cinema produce a variety of films for you to watch. Tsotsi (Gavin Hood, S. Africa, 2006) Tsotsi is an emotionless young leader who lives on the dangerous and crime ridden streets of Johannesburg in South Africa. The film follows Tsotsi through a journey of redemption and finding hope. The story portrays Tsotsi and his change of attitude when he finds a baby. This baby represents hope for Tsotsi.

One of the most striking things about the film is Gavin Hood’s use of colour in his cinematography; the heavy, sepia-toned atmosphere of the township conveys its inhabitants’ oppressive, dusty existence in a glance. It gives a social context to the film’s violence and criminal behaviour. Even without the help of big budget explosions or CGI, the film’s opening sequence immediately grabs the audience’s attention and establishes the exciting visual style. Sound is also used effectively with the film’s pulsing soundtrack (all local music); in his case Kwaito, bringing the movie’s world to vibrant, primal life.

Tsotsi isn’t the first movie about a criminal who finds redemption but it is certainly one that will stick in your mind down to the last scene. By telling this particular story, with its insider’s look at a place and a way of life utterly unfamiliar to most Hollywood blockbusters, Gavin Hood creates a breath-taking original film experience. This film is ideal for people who have an interest in drama, action and unpredictable plots. Overall, Tsotsi is a thought-provoking and emotional journey portrayed through film. La Haine ( Mathieu Kassovitz, France, 1995)

Some people dislike foreign films and refuse to watch anything in black and white. La Haine, however, is intelligent, funny, shocking and brutally honest. Critics know a film is telling the truth when in 1995, Prime Minister Juppe arranged a special screening for his cabinet to show them how dire the situation in Paris had become. La Haine literally means Hatred (or Hate, as the subtitles translate it) and refers to the feelings of the French youths towards the police and vice versa. The action takes place in the space of a day focusing on the lives of three friends – Vinz, Sayid and Hubert (one Jew, one Arab and one black).

One of their friends, Abdel, has been beaten into a coma by the police during a riot, in the course of which an officer has lost his gun. Vinz finds the gun and threatens revenge should Abdel die. As a result, the film constantly teeters on the brink of violence as the three travel from their riot-torn Parisian ghetto to the capital itself, right up to its shocking conclusion. The performances by the three teenagers are excellent. As Vinz captures the hatred and the anguish felt by the youths, who as they see it are being discriminated against by the racist police force.

Hubert realises the futility of fighting and wants out of the projects but his loyalty to his friends pulls him in. He is world-weary although he is only a teen and, as such, is the only one who realises the extent of the situation. The script is witty and natural and is brought vividly to life by the performers. The cinematography is exceptional whether it is the area of the ghetto or the wonderful travelling zoom shot when the boys arrive in the city. The decision to use black and white was a good one because, as Kassovitz says it just didn’t look right in colour.

Indeed, it adds grimness and a harsh edge to the picture making it even more powerful. The soundtrack too is great. The opening song by Bob Marley is wonderfully used and the pumping soundtrack adds to the local and realness of the film. La Haine is not a big budget film – Kassovitz had to fight with the producers to let him film in the more expensive black and white. This contrasts to the Hollywood CGI, big budget films because it provides reality, most blockbusters lack. This film has much to offer to young audience. It may have controversial themes of violence and abuse and it may also carry messages of racial hatred and police hatred.

On the whole it is a gritty and raw film which provides young people a look into reality and lets them think about the themes and the messages. This film may not be a big budget film or have amazing CGI, but then again this provides reality and a gritty harshness to life. Finally, Open to the Potential Pleasures of World Cinema What I personally think is that young audiences can gain a lot from watching World Cinema. Even thought they are not big budget film and don’t have the CGI or the big known starts, people can still gain an exhilarating movie experience.

In these films people will actually have to think about the messages and face the controversial themes which are just as engaging as the flashing and colourful experiences of blockbusters. Some suggestions of accessing World Cinema is to go to the nearest rental store or independent cinema. Smaller, more sophisticated cinema host a wide range of World Cinema for younger people to enjoy. Also rental stores do have a varied and reasonably wide World Cinema section. I know that people will have fears about World Cinema such as subtitles but these can be dispelled easily.

As people continue to watch World Cinema their eyes will train to watch both the action on screen and read the subtitles. Doing this can give the audience a more thought provoking and interesting film experience. So if young audiences have become interested in watching World Cinema, don’t be afraid to go to the nearest rental or cinema where people will be able to help them chose a simple and easy following film then gradually they can build to an exciting and thought provoking film full of experience. Now open their eyes to the potential pleasure of “World Cinema”.

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