The subject of classical and post-classical American cinema has been a longstanding debate in the study of film. Some scholars, such as Bordwell, argue that the essence of Hollywood film remained very similar throughout the years. Others, however, oppose this view, insisting that there are concrete boundaries to the classical era of Hollywood. In this essay, I aim to argue in support of Bordwell’s point of view and to show how the post-classical blockbuster movies are largely based on what Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson argued were the standardized practices of the classic Hollywood cinema.
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Maltby shows how the overall socioeconomic context in which the films of the 1920s-1950s were made is reflected in their structure. Studios aimed to maximize their profits by ensuring that the directors and scriptwriters were employing proven styles, genres, and standards. Bordwell et al. outline this generalized structure. For instance, they show that the chronology of classical Hollywood films is purely linear, the plot consists of cause-effect chains, the protagonist is goal-oriented, and the ending is closed and has no loose ends.
However, as we begin to think of the post-classical Hollywood productions, the application of a single generalized practice seems practically impossible. The post-classical Hollywood brought a variety of new release patterns, multiplying the potential profits, and presenting new challenges. The audience has become much more diverse, presenting a serious challenge for studios to make a truly mass-market movie. After all of these changes have taken place, can we say that the core of Hollywood films remained the same?
Despite the overall development of the industry, the socio-economic context of post-classical Hollywood film production remained the same. Moreover, the globalization of the film industry allowed for even more revenues to be generated through worldwide distribution. The studios were more than ever motivated to ensure the profitability of their productions by making so-called blockbuster movies.
Therefore, the standards of the classical film industry, designed for the films to be profitable, were just as relevant in the post-classical era as they were in the 1950s. As an example, let us look at TItanic. The film’s box office totaled over 2 billion dollars worldwide, making it the second most profitable movie in history. Even though the film was made in the post-classical era, it st into the generalized standards of the classical film. Although the film is set in the past, there is a distinctive, linear time frame; the narrative consists of cause and effect chains that are clear and understandable to the audience.
The protagonists are clearly distinguished from the rest of the characters and are goal-oriented. The tragic end is closed and the story finishes, leaving no questions in the audience as to what would happen next. The only recognizable differences between the Titanic and the classical Hollywood films are those needed to make the film more visually appealing, such as the scale of production, the use of special effects, and editing.
Overall, despite the increased diversity, the most profitable films of the post-classical era remained close in their style and structure to those produced before the 1950s. Even today’s blockbusters fit into the same structure, which is why I believe that classical Hollywood has largely defined not only the post-classical era of the film but also the contemporary film industry.
Ever since the end of World War II, there has been a strong emphasis on international cooperation in all aspects of life. The influence of this tendency on art has been especially prominent. The popularisation of international film festivals, for instance, allowed filmmakers from all around the world to spread their art. Expansion of major studios to various parts of the globe, on the other hand, allowed countries to cooperate and to produce truly international pictures.
To me, the term ‘international,’ as applied to the film industry, means that films no longer have a single cultural identity; instead, an international movie becomes a collection of several identities. This can be reflected in its genre, storyline, locations, or any other part of the picture. The Asian film industry is an excellent example of this notion.
Korean movies were largely influenced by the overall development of the country’s film industry. Until the 1990s, the share of Korean movies in the country’s film market was low. The development of the national film industry was achieved by the government’s support. The share of domestic films has doubled. However, domestic Korean cinema today is not entirely ‘national’ in its essence.
Even though the goal of Korean filmmakers is to compete with Hollywood, the most popular films are very similar to Hollywood films in their style and themes. Korean blockbusters are well-crafted, make good use of special effects and fight choreography; the scripts adhere to the standards for American films. This Hollywood structure is complemented by national identity, found in film’s locations, cast, or social themes explored, becoming an example of a truly ‘international’ film.
Japanese anime is one of the most recognizable examples of Japanese film industry productions. Any picture of this genre represents a range of distinctive features that define anime as a ‘national’ form of art. For example, the stories are almost exclusively set in Japan. In many cases, the plot explores Japanese folklore or other traditional themes. Nevertheless, the influence of globalization on this genre is also very prominent, and one of the results of this influence is the dehumanization, post-apocalyptic settings, and sci-fi motives appearing in many recent anime films.
The fascination of anime creators with robots, machines, and futuristic themes is easily explainable. These ideas are popular all over the world, and addressing them gives more opportunity for the product to become internationally recognized. A mixture of Japanese tradition and global trends also results in anime films becoming increasingly ‘international.’
Overall, the range of films and topics covered throughout this year allowed me to get a better understanding of cinema in different countries and parts of the world. I found the exploration of the effect of globalization on the film industries of various countries very exciting. It is well known that globalization can produce diverse effects on different countries and individuals.
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In response to increasing international cooperation, some feel the need to strengthen their national identity; others, on the opposite, take on the opportunities that globalization provides, such as travel, cultural exchange, and trade. In the film industry, the effects of globalization have been nonetheless prominent. The cinema all over the world is becoming largely international, not only in how it is produced and distributed but also in its themes and topics.