Film and National Identity

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National Identity Portrayed in Film

Being Australian, I am more than aware that Australia gets depicted in certain ways in film, like in Crocodile Dundee, Australia is portrayed as being home to masculine men who fend for themselves in the outback, have ridiculous accents, are laid-back, etc. This has always fascinated me because its a caricature, not at all like the Australians I actually know.

So, my suggestion is an article that looks at your country of choice. Analyse a collection of films pertaining to that country and interpret how it is depicted. Is it truthful? Or is it only partially truthful? Are they creating a caricature, and if so, how are they creating that? Closely analyse the film here, making sure the article discusses the art in depth.

Do the people of that country agree with how they have been portrayed? Has that shaped the perceived national identity of that country? Do people from abroad stereotype them in the way films have? Is it just humorous, or does it have a more serious, political undertone? Are the stereotypes somehow convenient in the process of story telling?

Look at who makes these films, are film makers promoting stereotypes that belong to themselves, or are they made by people who have never experienced life in that country? What kind of statement does this then make? Perhaps, make an assessment as to WHY filmmakers have chosen to represent your country of choice in this way. Is it artistic, political, or a mixture of both?

  • This is a very fun topic. Also, what countries do you think are portrayed too often? What about those that aren't shown enough? Heck, is there a country that might have popped up on TV but never been portrayed on film? – OkaNaimo0819 3 years ago
  • A good idea, I would add that the films need to be some small cross-section of positive and negative views of a country. – Joseph Cernik 3 years ago
  • You could glean a lot of good information from this. One of the first films I thought of was the musical version of The King and I (1950s). It's heavily romanticized, which plays into a different kind of stereotyping. You might also look at Fiddler on the Roof, which is arguably stereotypical in its portrayal of rural Russia/Ashkenazi Jews. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
  • This is a good topic. I think it would be important to note the intended audience of the film, and how the depiction of the country changes based on audience. – Serena 3 years ago
  • One of the most fascinating cultural panels I ever went to was one that discussed the animation industry in North Korea. Since North Korea is a dictatorship, virtually all the entertainment is propaganda of some kind or another, but it was interesting to see the different ways that it played out, and some of the shows that were featured in the panel had genuinely human moments, which reinforced that, ultimately, the people of North Korea are still people. – Debs 3 years ago