While awaiting the infamous film adaption of my favourite John Green book, myself and all those surrounding me in the local cinema are presented with trailers of Hollywood films making their way to Australia in a couple of weeks, months or maybe in a year. This seems normal, yes? Yet, in a multicultural and moreover a highly multiracial country, there is no recognition of global film industries other than that of Hollywood. The Western film industry dominates our big screen, and this cannot be denied. But does film go beyond Hollywood?
The film industry is known for is glamour and high stake celebrities, red carpet reveals and shiny golden Oscar awards, all of which encapsulate Hollywood. However, film cannot be so easily localised, and as a result of the process of globalisation, film has expanded and the industry has many international hubs around the world. Perhaps the most noteworthy global film hub and also the largest film industry in the world is that of Bollywood.
The Bollywood film industry began in Bombay and is known for its traditional portrayal of Indian culture and ideologies in film. It produces a series of classically structured and colourful films following a “standard three-act narrative structure” (Karan and Schaefer, 2010, p.313). Bollywood is moreover known for its long running time and “song-and-dance sequences” (Karan and Schaefer, 2010, p.313) that embody traditional cultural practices and envisage values and principles. This is most evident in the traditional Indian film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, – a trailer has been provided below – which addresses social and cultural concerns faced by those viewing it. Films such as that of Slumdog Millionaire – not a traditional Bollywood film, but nonetheless Bollywood inspired – also highlights how the process of globalisation and a moreover a widening diaspora affect the reception of Bollywood films around the world. Yet still, Bollywood film trailers are not promoted in Australian cinemas despite their global success. Why?
Another significant film industry that is divergent to that of Hollywood is the Nigerian based Nollywood film industry. The Nigerian global film scape is the third largest industry following that of Bollywood and Hollywood, and consequently is received well on a global and local scale. The success of Nollywood at home is attributed to its status “as an autonomous local cinematic expression that looks inward and not outward” (Okome, 2007, p.1), focusing primarily on the concerns faced by Nigerians in a setting familiar to their own. Nollywood’s “unprecedented success” (Okome, 2007, p.1) in a global landscape is thus what keeps it thriving. Despite this, much like Bollywood, Nollywood’s films are not presented on the big screen in Australia.
Prior to this, I was totally unaware of the existence of a Nigerian film industry, and I am sure a number of others would be too.
So, why do we reserve the big screen for Western films and fail to promote a more globalised film industry? Why do we ignore film outlets such as Bollywood and Nollywood and prefer to idealise Hollywood portrayals of everyday life?
– Karan, K. and Schaefer, DJ., 2010, ‘ Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of Popular Indian Cinema in Global Film Flows’, Global Media and Communication, Volume 6:3, pp.309-316.
– Okome, O., 2007, ‘Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption’, Postcolonial Text, 3:2, pp.1-21.
– Image Courtesy of http://www.nairaland.com/324177/untold-true-story-nollywood