Hollywood, Bollywood….Brazil?

We’ve all heard of Hollywood.  It’s that multi-billion dollar film industry that lives in the US. If you were paying attention to my previous posts, you’ll know it’s a media capital. Certainly, many of the films I watch are from Hollywood. Iron Man, The Hunger Games and the Avengers all come to mind.

The thing is, even though a film might originate from Hollywood, or Bollywood, this doesn’t mean the film is purely American or Indian.

As David Schaefer and Kavita Karan (2010) talk of James Cameron’sAvatar” draws on multiple elements of Indian culture, such as the appearance of the local “Na’vi”. So, even though “Avatar” is a Hollywood film, it has significant Indian influences.

Does this constitute a TRANSNATIONAL FILM? Transnational films are those which involve more than one nation in their production or influence. So, even though generally we would classify “Avatar” as an American film, it actually represents transnational cinema.

The Motorcycle Diaries” is another interesting case. The film’s plot tells of Che Guevara‘s motorcycle journey, before he became a famous revolutionary.

These are just some of the credits:

It was filmed in several locations, including Peru, Chile and Venezuela.  The language is Spanish. So we can see that “The Motorcycle Diaries” is a very transnational film, with contributions from all over the world. Director Walter Salles was born in Rio de Janeiro, raised in France and the US, before settling in Brazil, which again emphasises the way in which cinema is becoming much more globally integrated.

This interview with Walter Salles is very helpful in explaining his experiences as a director making films that draw on cultures different from his own:

His perspective on his role as a global film maker is made clear by this:

Cinema, for me, has always been an instrument to understand that the world was much larger, and much more polyphonic than I thought it would be at first…” 

He also states this, about his experiences creating “The Motorcycle Diaries”:

…yes I was a Brazilian film maker to start with, but I also understood that I was part of a larger cultural territory which was Latin America, and…it’s as if my house had become a little bit larger than it was until that day.”

What does this all mean? What’s the point?

In many ways, film has always been transnational, and it is only recently that we have begun to take note of it. Directors, such as Walter Salles, actors and producers travel all over the world, and movies from supposedly separate nations involve themes and influences from each other. Globalisation has meant that transnational cinema has become more noticeable. Increasingly, we see more films from media capitals other than Hollywood.

The point is, we, as audiences, are witnessing a more integrated, globalised film industry. This can surely only be positive, as we see more of the world than ever before.


Schaefer, D, Karan, K 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 309-316.


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