Globalization/Cosmopolitanism and Asian Film

By Charles Paul Beaupre.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the past two decades many Asian countries have undergone major social, political, cultural and economic transformations. The cinematic forms that reflect and comment on these transformations offer an important window into the lives of individuals experiencing changing cultural patterns due to the increased amalgamation of transnational, cosmopolitan values versus those associated with national belonging and citizenship. Asian filmmakers from the 1990s onward have progressively shaped the cinematic ethos of their respective national cinemas to reflect themes closely correlated to globalization issues, such as rapid industrialization, economic modernization, urbanization, consumerism, and the demise of rural society. Examples of such developments can be found in the cinemas of China, India, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan; all of which speak to tremendous changes in the social, cultural and political makeup of their societies. In time, the cinematic styles of these Asian filmmakers have evolved to cover many other concerns that accompanied this fundamental change to societal structure, including themes of feminism, minority voices, and increasing social alienation. This paper examines such thematic developments of the film industry within these several Asian national settings. It traces thematic choices influenced by social, cultural and political factors that interrelate with globalization. It further discusses how Asian filmmakers have expanded their story-telling repertoire; from focusing their creative energy on issues relating to rapid modernization and the social ills associated with that process, to ones that encapsulate a period of growth marked by a greater emphasis on the realism of everyday life, to finally include a certain cosmopolitan appeal for an increasingly wider international audience, accompanied by significantly greater commercial success. These trends in Asian cinema are juxtaposed to comparable developments within the respective societies as well as within the Asian region.

Keywords: Asian Film, Globalization, Cosmopolitanism

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.263-276. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 755.911KB).

Dr. Charles Paul Beaupre

Professor, Asian Studies, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Charles Beaupre has been a professor at Saint Mary’s University since 1994. He has a shared appointment in the Department of Modern Languages and the Asian Studies Program. He has a Ph.D. in educational psychology from McGill University, and has conducted cross-cultural ethnographic research in various Asian countries. He has lived in China, Taiwan, Japan, and Thailand. His areas of interest include education for indigenous populations, lifelong learning, film studies and other forms of popular culture.


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