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They don’t want to sell the world on the PRC, they want to sell it wushu, romance of the three kingdoms, and other classic crap like that. Or at least, that’s what they’ve tried up to this point, andbits pretty reflective of the way the average Chinese person on the street thinks about the Chinese identity… firmly rooted in the past and their old inventions.

Edit: @BeingHenning I think you’re perhaps seeing what you want to see re: koreanfilms. There are tons of Korean films that have very little connection to family structure, particularly in the way you’re mentioning. Individual actors succeeding in their mission are still quite common, regardless of whether or not their family figures into the plot.


That’s my point though. What I’m seeing in Korean films is a different emphasis on family, especially a parental relationships, that are not common in American films. I’m noticing it because it plays out differently from the way it plays out in American films. I don’t notice the parts of Korean movies or Chinese movies that are similar to American films. So when I think of Korean or Chinese movies or Japanese anime, what comes to mind is what stands out rather than what is shared in American or international film and shows in general.

I’m sure Koreans watching those movies don’t see anything unusual about those relationships. However, what might strike a Chinese audience about American movies might be something I wouldn’t notice at all. So it’s not like what I find unusual in those movies is what they are trying to sell to a foreign audience or what US audiences find attractive in American movies is necessarily going to sell them overseas.

If anything, Korean films are trying to sell bipbimbap, kimchi and kalbi. That’s all over those movies. And really attractive cakes.


This I can definitely get behind :wink: I’d wager though that whatever difference you perceive is mostly a relic of the experiences of Japanese occupation, and then the division of Korea and the Korean War, plus 20 years of dictatorship after that. For the majority of a century, Koreans were torn apart from each other for reasons utterly beyond their control. The young generation now, though, has a completely different experience, and likely won’t be making the same kinds of movies in 15-20 years.


The interesting thing is that the way Korean Americans I knew here saw the movies as well. I mean those who were two or three generations in. Essentially, they have the same American perspective I do but gravitate toward the more “American” style Korean action movies. One once told me that it’s like watching a Hollywood movie, but all the actors look like him. While I don’t like the action movies so much and generally watch the dark thrillers, horror movies and, often, the comedies.

Some of the war movies and historical dramas strike me as particularly jingoistic, BUT I wonder how similar movies like the recent 12 STRONG would look to a foreign audience.


That’s relatively recent “culture” though - China was the dominant world power for a long time before that.


Obviously, the same but more so just due to America’s position on the world stage. Have you seen JSA?


That one stood out. A tight thriller that was also unusual but probably that’s a story that could only be Korean. It would be hard to tell a similar story anywhere else except maybe Berlin during the Cold War.

But his movies are very unusual in general. I still haven’t seen his most recent one, but I think THIRST is my favorite - which is based on an old French novel somewhat.


Anyway, we’ve veered a bit. Your original suggestion was that Korean cinema has a tendency to put the group against individuals, and I’m just not sure where you’re getting that from.


They sold the world on Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan. And they did very well, but it is what it is. Westerners aren’t going to differentiate Hong Kong and China.

It’s amazing how countries can be distilled to single movies. Australia is still Ctocodile Dundee. Scotland is Braveheart. England is a mix of Austin Powers and Mary Poppins. The US is Top Gun. Ireland is probably still the fucking Commitments. Mexico is probably Desperado. China is maybe Crouching Tiger.


Well there’s also a factor to be considered which is, the american “culture” has already absorbed many of other countries’ cultural stuff…

In the chinese case: Kung Fu, which was majorly “absorbed” (or appropriated) following the Matrix. Before that, sure there were some kung-fu martial artists in american cinema, but they were mainly villains and comedic reliefs to show how bad-ass the american brawlers were… Post-Matrix though, kung-fu became the norm in terms of fighting scenes and choreography.

Edit: Oh and btw, when I say “Kung-fu” I mean the whole thing, including swiping the technical aspects of the HK wire-stuntmanship or however you’d call it… not just the martial arts itself.

Same thing applies to a lot of other cultural tidbits from other countries.

So, yeah, to your point, they do have an uphill battle because waht could’ve been their main selling point to an international audience, has already been swiped by hollywood.


uhm, that’s an american movie… and not representative at all :smile:


Yep, that’s the wushu part (for anything set in the past or fantasy past). But china has also long wanted to be appreciated for the rest of its classical history, and when you talk to people in china about what they’re proud of, they always bring up a classic set of inventions: paper, gunpowder, movable print, mechanical clock and the compass. That’s their big hang up overall, but hopefully the Chinese people under 35 will start putting their eyes more on the future. There really ought to be more amazing sci-fi coming from china, I think.


So was Crocodile Dundee. Neither point matters.


Well, I mean if you’re going for the ridiculous american stereotypes at least go with El Mariachi… =P


I think England is more Hogwarts and muggles these days. Mary Poppins would have been our generation though.


I’d agree with that. Harry really hijacked the British identity is a new cool way. Steam trains, sweet shops, school houses, boarding school - all incredibly British. And the world went mad for it.


Thanks for the counter-points, you’d know far better than me!


No worries, I wasn’t responding to you so much as that actual critic :wink:


Same thing. I actually prefer El Mariachi to Desperado. The later is generally better known though.

Fun fact: El Mariachi was actually originally made for the Mexican video market. It just caught so many eyes in Hollywood that it ended up getting a bit larger release that eventually led to Rodriguez making Desperado.


The commitments, if we’re lucky.
Probably Far and Away or some other bullshit.