cinema

Reflecting on the New Wave of Cinema — Establishing Emily

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the New Wave of Cinema in India since the world plunged into a global pandemic. Today, I’m going to write an autoethnography analysing my initial reflection on this topic. I discussed the detrimental impact the Covid-19 pandemic, and its subsequent lockdowns, has had on the Indian film […]

Reflecting on the New Wave of Cinema — Establishing Emily

Cinema and India

For as long as I can remember, Bollywood movies were always beautiful, lively and extravagant. But after watching this weeks screening ‘India in a Day (Google India, 2016) A crowd sourced film’, I found it wonderful to see a new perspective of life in India from the city to the country as well as their struggles without internet.

Although with the current pandemic, the film and cinema industry (like everywhere) has taken a downfall in production as well as viewership. This has led to individuals finding new forms of entertainment.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-Spotlight/Digital-Bollywood-Can-Amazon-and-Netflix-save-Indian-cinema

In the article above, the “country’s film industry was estimated to be worth 194.2 billion rupees ($2.5 billion) in 2019”. This statistic reaffirms India’s income derived from their own people as well as those around the world who would view these film’s, yet with the situation now, filming an individual’s life at home is the only safe way to get media across whilst still being engaged.

https://t.co/p3Sj9tOKhO?amp=1

https://yourstory.com/2020/12/technology-making-indian-agriculture-smarter-inclusive-resilient/amp

Lack of knowledge about latest methods and technology: A majority of Indian farmers are smallholders who rely on traditional resource-intensive farming techniques. They have limited access to modern machinery, logistics and storage facilities, and information such as data on weather patterns, soil health, and protection of crops.”

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to India’s farming industry, which has become apparent to the public as well. In December 2019 where over 25,000 hectares of crops were destroyed in what experts term as the worst-such attack in 25 years by locust that couldn’t be predicted without warning of drought.

Most of the younger generations, mainly in the west, have no concept of life without technology. This then doesn’t show the gravity technology has on industries that provide for whole nations, with resources creating the foundations the youth live upon.

https://www.antoniafishart.com/little-fish-blog/cinema-and-india

#BCM320 #Cinema #Film

Cake – family, love, and loss

Cake (2019), image, Newsline (https://newslinemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/aaminasheikh_15_3_2018_14_7_33_200.jpg)

This week’s film is Cake which was directed by Asim Abbasi in 2018 and this movie is categorised as emotional on Netflix. This film is really difficult to follow its story unlike the other two previous films, Love for Sale and Furie, and this my personal impression may be correct because I saw some similar comments on Live-tweeting. On the other hand, I enjoyed this film in the aspect of its theme that is love, family, and loss. Those pieces came up in my mind when I watched them.

To make sure I understand Cake, I would like to analyse the details with my personal experiences. Again, this approach is a part of autoethnography that is defined as “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (Ellis, Adams, and Bochner 2011).

This film, Cake focuses on “women” separately from three main themes that I mentioned above. Regardless of family stories, there are women in every scene and they are surrounded by strong emotions such as sadness, confusion, anger, and so on. According to my research about Pakistan’s culture that is about men and women, it is summarised “women are subordinate to men, and that a man’s honor resides in the actions of the women of his family” (Blood 1994). So this film seems to overturn the stereotype because the women in the film are not hesitant to argue with men. What I got strong impressions of the film is when they were together even though they had battles within siblings. I have never experienced those kinds of arguments with my family so it is difficult to imagine how they were feeling but I could say it did not mean they wanted to mess up and end up their relationships. They have compassion and sympathies at their bottom of their mind basically but they do not know how to express themselves with their own words. Those scenes remind me of my family at the same time. My family has never battles but they are easy to misunderstand especially when they face some unescapable things such as parental care and decision of children future.

To support their lack of communication, some songs are used as background music and each song has messages that can tell each members’ feelings instead. I believe songs have kinds of spiritual power that can stay by your side whenever you listen to music and what I like to do is jumping into the songs to heal myself. I can say this feature worked out for the film because many people reacted to songs especially when they sang for their mother who lies on her bed. Thanks to those songs, I could read their feelings and avoid being totally lost in my position so I imagine the intentions of film producers are to leave room to think and catch the clues by songs. 

Lastly, I would like to mention the title “Cake”. Honestly, I could not understand why the film is titled Cake even though some scenes used cakes.

Satomi (2020), Twitter (https://twitter.com/0810satomi/status/1295876631530049536?s=20)

However, this article gave me the answer. It said “Cake. It comes in different shapes and sizes, colours, and textures. The icing on top can often conceal what lies underneath, or whether the cake is actually as delicious as it looks. Quite like families. They are always around, whether physically or in spirit. Each one is different, but they are all familiarly comforting when enjoyed in small slices” (Datar 2019). When I read these sentences, all my questions are solved so it is important to think about the characteristics not only the objects. 

References:

Blood, P 1994, ‘Men and Women, Gender Relations’, Pakistan: A Country Study, viewed 21 August 2020, <http://countrystudies.us/pakistan/36.htm>

Datar, S 2019, ”Cake’ review: This Pakistani drama slices past stereotypes to create a compelling tale’, The NEWS Minute, 31 May, viewed 21 August 2020, <https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/cake-review-pakistani-drama-slices-past-stereotypes-create-compelling-tale-102767>

Ellis, C, Adams, T.E, and Bochner, A.P 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, no. 1, viewed 21 August 2020, <https://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>

Furie : Autoethnography and Self-reflexivity

Furie is a Vietnamese action movie and the central theme is the maternal affection and the strength of mother while there are many cultural components.Although the main theme that is love is similar to Love for Sale which I watched and wrote a blog last week on the aspect of focusing on family, both films have totally different angles, structures, and storytelling to deliver the messages to the audience. On this week’s blog, I keep Self-reflexivity in my mind to analyse Furie.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is haiphuongngothanhvan2155636092-6465-5100-1557311436.png
Furie (2019), image, VNEXPRESS (https://vcdn-english.vnecdn.net/2019/05/08/haiphuongngothanhvan2155636092-6465-5100-1557311436.png)

Self-reflexivity is related to autoethnography which is defined as “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (Ellis, Adams, and Bochner 2011). The relationship is explained as “The concept and method called auto-ethnography is an attempt at practicing this self-reflexivity by having a closer look at one’s own longings and belongings. This means the auto-ethnographer places the self within a social context by connecting the personal and the cultural.” (Alsop 2002). Recognising and understanding this point, it is possible to analyse Furie effectively.

What I would like to highlight from Furie using self-reflexivity is three points:

  1. the scene Hai who is the main character and mother told about to be strong to her daughter, Mai
  2. about the urban city that appeared in the middle in Furie
  3. the fact they did not use guns until the end of the story

The first point is that one of the scenes gave me strong impressions. When Hai told Mai to not feel scared and to be strong, I personally felt sorry for Hai because the message came from her hurt past. I analyse Hai as she holds many responsibilities and heavy burdens to protect her daughter. Putting me in Hai’s position and imagining how she has grown up and how it has affected her life is a kind of self-reflexivity even though this is all about feelings not cultural aspects.

The second point involves cultural aspects. The urban city in Vietnam is a core place for Furie and the buildings and the townscape reminds me of Tokyo because there are crowded people and most buildings are lighted up even in the night time. This recognition comes from my personal experiences and knowledge that Tokyo never is silent in the night time. Surprisingly, there are other students that talked about the same scenes even though they are not Japanese. This fact that Tokyo has this kind of stereotype can be important for understanding with autoethnography.

The last point is that they did not use guns for fighting until the end of the film. I did not realize and I did not have doubts about that until I found one tweet. The tweet made me aware of Asian action films have fighting scenes with their fists basically unlike American films. Live-tweeting activities gave me a new angle of analysing as well as new discoveries by sharing everyone’s opinions. In addition, I analyse the reason why they did not use guns is that fighting with their fists can make the scene more aggressive and serious rather than using guns.

Satomi (2020), Twitter( https://twitter.com/0810satomi/status/1293355289329057792?s=20)

At the end of this blog, I would like to mention the ending of Furie. I personally take facts that the style of ending which resolves everything and Hai and Mai could back to their happy life is an ideal ending. While when we watched Love for Sale last week, there were many arguments that criticised the ending, most people did not argue about the ending for Furie. So I consider everyone to prefer positive and clear endings as ideal even if we have different backgrounds and experiences.

References:

Alsop, Christane, K 2002, ‘Home and Away: Self-Reflexive Auto-/Ethnography’, Forum Qualitative Social Research, vo.3, no.3, viewed 14 August 2020, <http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~kmacd/IDSC10/Readings/Positionality/auto-eth.pdf>

Ellis, C, Adams, T.E, and Bochner, A.P 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, no. 1, viewed 6 August 2020, <https://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>

Love for Sale: autoethnography and analysis of culture

Love for Sale which is made in Indonesia and is a romantic comedy movie. To analyse and see the depth of this movie, it is necessary to understand the context behind the Asian culture as well as the concept of autoethnography. Ellis, Adams, and Bochner (2011) defined autoethnography as an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience. They also mentioned that “this approach challenges canonical ways of doing research and representing others and treats research as a political, socially-just and socially-conscious act” (Ellis, Adams, and Bochner 2011). Considering those described points, it is possible to imagine that there are some messages and pieces that the movie wants to deliver to the audience.

I would like to analyse there are two points that can be indicated in the movie. The two points are what people work and what people fall in love with.  

Love for Sale (2018), image, JustWatch

Love for Sale has two main characters which are Richard A. Widjaja who is a single man and Arini Kusuma who tried to change Richard to a better person. They met through a paid online platform that has 45 days of contracts aiming to find a partner. As they unfold the story, you would find what I mean by two points. The people who were watching Love for Sale at the tutorial of BCM320 showed similar reactions at several scenes. First scene is related to the work that I indicated above. As it has been a common stereotype that Asia is strict for time especially at the workplace. Employees are required to be on time. There was one scene that reminded you of this cultural aspect. In addition, Love for Sale drew that employees were only engaged under strict boss and they did not give objections to their boss. To explain why there were those kinds of scenes, I found one article that mentioned Asian culture. About the aspect of the workplace in Asia, it is explained that “as employees have to respect authority and implement super-incumbent decisions, they are reluctant to challenge the status quo and question a manager’s decision”  (Xie & Paik 2018).

In addition to that, there was another scene that reminds me of Asian culture which was the scene of Arini doing his best for Richard. I saw many tweets that said Arini was too nice to him because she did not mind and gave her best. To support the scene, I would like to cite this statement that identifies the relationship between husband and wife in Asia. It said “Asian women respect their men a lot.  They prefer to deliver their right to make decisions to men. and they like to follow their husbands and treat them with a big deal of respect” (Asian Women 2020).

Although there are other characteristic scenes that represent the Love for Sale including camera work and storytelling, I personally focus on those two scenes that I mentioned before on this blog. I have an Asian cultural background so those scenes did not surprise me and I could imagine that other people who do not have the background would have some thoughts at the same time. What I would like to highlight the point of autoethnography with Love for Sale is how to deliver messages including cultural backgrounds. Putting pieces of cultural stuff can be part of autoethnography and understanding the point will make sense to understanding the concept of autoethnography as well.

At the end of this blog, I would like to mention the ending of Love for Sale. Most people who watched the movie argued the ending was blurred and did not make sense. Stevens (2020) summarised romantic comedy is thought to be essentially calculating. However, it is not possible to say Love for Sale follows this definition because the ending leaves some room for us to think about what they intend to do. So not all romantic comedies suit the definition and I reckon the contradiction has room to explore the concept of autoethnography.

References:

Asian Women 2020, The Truth About Asian Women, Asian Women, viewed 7 August 2020, <https://asian-women.biz>

Ellis, C, Adams, T.E, and Bochner, A.P 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, no. 1, viewed 6 August 2020, <https://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>

Love for Sale (2018), JustWatch, image, viewed 7 August 2020, <https://images.justwatch.com/poster/71954458/s592>

Stevens, K 2020, ‘Romantic comedy and the virtues of predictability’, New Review of Film and Television Studies, vo. 18, viewed 7 August 2020, <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17400309.2019.1664059>

Xie, G & Paik, Y 2018, ‘Cultural differences in creativity and innovation: are Asian employees truly less creative than western employees?’, Asia Pacific Business Review, vo. 25, viewed 7 August 2020, <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13602381.2018.1535380>