Monday, May 26, 2008

Now Playing

Not being that much of a movie buff, I wasn't planning to go out and see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." But, this being the United States, and the movie being positioned as the Big Spring Blockbuster™, you'd have to live under a very large rock to keep it from seeping into your consciousness. And so, I came to learn that this time around, the Evil Enemy™ are the Communists.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Russian Communists are upset about the way Communists are portrayed, calling the movie "crude anti-Soviet propaganda" and calling for the film to be banned in Russia. In a similar vein, the government of Myanmar wasn't very happy about the latest "Rambo" movie. (Burmese dissidents, apparently, were.)

I guess this is a side effect of the fact that Hollywood pretty much rules the worldwide movie industry. American movies that vilify this government or that movement are slammed by aggrieved parties. But you almost never hear anything about foreign movies that cast the United States as the faceless and cartoonish villains. Gary Busey and Billy Zane took a little heat for playing evil Americans in "Kurtlar vadisi - Irak" (Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, in English), but it's unlikely that very many Americans have heard of the film. (And then, it seems mainly because Gary Busey [who plays a particularly nasty Jewish-American doctor] is well-known enough that the criticism of him got around.) It's interesting that "Bigotry" is listed as a Plot Keyword in the movie's IMDB listing - along with other winners such as "Racial Prejudice," "Ignorance," "Lies," "Anti Americanism," "Racist" and "Anti-Semitism" but these are all likely placed there by aggrieved viewers, rather than being an official government stance. The movie doesn't have an American rating (according to IMDB), so it apparently was never released in the United States, although the BBC said that a US release was planned.

There have to be more foreign movies out there that deal with the United States. Maybe we'd understand a little more about how the rest of the world understands us if we were exposed to them every so often.

1 comment:

ben said...

It blows me away that no other country has created an effective Hollywood of their own (Bollywood, maybe - but where is the summer block buster with English subtitles?).

I mean - Al Jazeera got it with news but I'm still waiting for the world to figure out that Hollywood is the best propaganda machine ever dreamt up. Even when films aren't political - they're saying "World - we rock - you acknowledge this by watching our films"