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The Aesthetics of Popular Culture

The Aesthetics of Popular Culture

As the discussion’s opening image attests to, film has always provided opportunities for cross-cultural communication. Before the 1960s however, this communication involved primarily the most developed countries of the world broadcasting content to the less developed world. The high cost of film, cameras, and production made it very difficult for most of the Third World to produce its own cinema. As independence movements swept the Third World, cultures were freed from the shackles of outside interference, allowing the development of cultural forms such as film, which had been impossible before given their tendency to be very critical of colonial authorities. Our earlier film, The Battle of Algiers, is one such example of Third World cinema in action. These early days of cinema in the developing world were hardly something that could be called independent. As Glauber Rocha and Ousmane Sembène experienced, significant connections to the West did much to help them gain the technologies and audiences to find success as filmmakers (Sembène often filmed in French for example). Their work, nonetheless, signaled a stark deviation from “traditional” film narratives seen throughout the Western and Eastern blocs. The views Rocha and Sembène expressed in this week’s content reflect the thinking of many early Third World directors. Their films sought to invigorate native cultures that had long been suppressed by colonial leadership. Just as important, they sought to address (former) imperial powers directly to speak of the consequences of their actions, especially for those indigenous peoples who had, like those in the picture above, chosen to settle in the land of the colonizer. Please be sure to read and view the following for this discussion: Hunt, The World Transformed, Chapters 5-6 Discuss what you see as the primary goals of these pioneering filmmakers as it relates both to film and their own cultures. Using some of the material you are collecting for the M6A1 Annotated Bibliography, consider how effective your chosen country’s own film industry was at invigorating national popular culture in the 1960s and 1970s, or how its absence affected that same goal of an independent national culture.

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