“The term crossover cinema is used to encapsulate an emerging form of cinema that crosses cultural borders at the stage of conceptualisation and production and hence manifests a hybrid cinematic grammar at the textual level, as well as crossing over in terms of its distribution and reception” (Khorana, 2013, p.2). In other words, crossover cinema is used when one actor appears to imitate the characteristics of another race or ethnicity. This cultural bridging results in a hybridity of cinematic elements and reflects the way in which global flows have shaped film.
Cross-cultural cinema is another example of cross over film. This means that a film is does not necessarily have to be a Western remake but is a film that features that of another culture. Khorana (2013) says “It highlights the process of creating a film that is not conventionally grounded in a single national/cultural/generic source”. Examples of cross cultural cinema are Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Sex and the City 2 (2010). Both of these movies are Hollywood productions which feature cultural characteristics. Slumdog Millionaire is set in India with an Indian cast. The Hollywood factors of this movie likes to sensationalise such poverty and abuse displayed in the movie. Not only is this a bad thing in general but it’s a very bad thing for the stereotyping of India. It makes India seem like a place full of thieving, violence and poverty which certainly it is not.
Hollywood is remaking foreign films at an alarming rate with some critics claiming it is US led globalisation. One film genre has seen the most remakes with that being Japanese Horror films. American remakes include The Ring, The Grudge, Dark Water and The Uninvited. Most Japanese films are produced for Japanese audiences and are rarely distributed out of the country. When Japanese films are adopted by Hollywood, they are usually overflowing with hints of Japanese culture. As Western audiences aren’t aware of the cultural characteristics in the film, we perceive the storyline very differently.
Some cultural themes in The Ring that Westerners would not understand include: the appearance of Samara, the creepy looking girl. Her appearance is based on Japanese folk stories about yuurei ghosts. They have a white face, long black hair and a white trailing kimono. This is also how Japanese women looked when they were buried. This image was also portrayed in the The Grudge to conform to the Western audiences idea of ‘evil’. Also, in The Ring there are many damp setting, with the majority of the characters being killed by water. To Westerners this has no meaning, whereas to the Japanese, spirits are usually associated with water and humidity.
So, whilst crossover cinema creates an image of globalisation, sometimes the images it depicts are not true representations of other cultures. They create unrealistic stereotypes and dramatise awful incidents in film. With the recreation of Eastern films, they must be adapted to appeal to Western audiences but some cultural aspect remain which we don’t understand.
Khorana, S 2013, ‘Crossover Cinema: A Genealogical and Conceptual Overview’, Crossover Cinema: Cross-Cultural Film from Production to Reception, Routledge, pp. 2-15
Sex and the City 2 2010, film, New Line Cinema, USA, directed by Michael Patrick King
Slumdog Millionaire 2008, film, Warner Bros, UK/India, directed by Danny Boyle