Globalism is built on a whole lot of national identity in film – Deadline

Is global inclusion possible for the films?

As utopian as it sounds – the idea of ​​letting the whole world in – is clearly a goal of the newly awakened Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The introduction to the Academy’s RAISE platform, an online portal used to screen Oscar Best Picture contenders for inclusivity, describes it in bold terms. “The Representation and Inclusion Standards are intended to promote fair representation on and off the screen in order to better reflect the diverse world population,” it says.

To achieve universal access, the Academy has already expanded its membership outside the US and recruited filmmakers and executives from around the world. It is no coincidence that Parasite from South Korea was named best film in 2020 or that Beijing-born Chloe Zhao was named best director next year.

That is globalism at work.

But how exactly should hundreds and hundreds of individual films – each one tells a certain story, about certain characters, necessarily limited in time and space – take up this goal of reflecting the world’s population? The world is a very big place. It is very diverse indeed. Only the greatest and most imaginative films – say Zhao’s Eternals with its large, multi-ethnic cast – can take more than a tiny bite of the world without destroying the localized cultural context on which a story depends for its impact.

Belfast is a Northern Irish story. Licorice pizza is American. Drive My Car is Japanese. No picture below is a study on global diversity. Each is a piece of culture-specific art that only adds its own narrow concerns to the great mosaic of world cinema.

But there’s nothing wrong with that.

On Tuesday, when the Academy’s shortlist for best international feature film is announced, we will see a wonderfully diverse selection of films, all rooted in a particular national culture, few of which are designed to “meet the world’s diverse populations” to be taken into account (although most show the usual crisscrossing of international film business connections). One hero, one candidate for the list, is Iranian, with predominantly Iranian cast and crew. The worst person in the world is Norwegian with the Norwegian language and talent. Very little about Drive My Car is un-Japanese, save for possibly the Chekhov subplot.

These films draw their strength – and their truly international character – from a certain national and ethnic framework and a certain identity.

It’s OK. In order to be something, you must first be something. And that applies to all-American teenage escapades in the San Fernando Valley (Licorice Pizza) as well as to the hardships of a Kosovar beekeeper (Hive). No matter what the global inclusion platform of the somewhat utopian academy may say.

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