Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cultural jabs in non-American films

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I think "foreign films" sounds decidedly American-centric. It's interesting to observe the cultural nuances from non-Hollywood films. And of course, non-Hollywood almost means non-American...

[Translated] quotes from Mýrin, a.k.a. Jar City, an Icelandic film:
"Ever been to Stockholm? Terrible place!"
"Is that what they teach you in America? Stop being a pussy."
I have a hard time telling whether that's a friendly poke and shout-out, or the writer/director has some beef with Stockholm or Swedes in general, or many Icelanders have similar beef to pick. But the way the police chief makes fun of the rookie on his team who has (studied?) in America at some point... indicates some nationalist pride perhaps.

Quotes from Eagle vs. Shark, a New Zealand film:
 "I sell these to the Muslims..." (character holds up a candle of twin towers) "and these to the Yanks." (same character holds up a candle of Bin Laden)
"Where do you want to go?"
"Home, I want to go home."
"Ah, home's horrible. You must want to go somewhere else."
"Mmm, dunno. Australia?"
"Nah, not there. My ex-wife lives there."
"What, is she alive?"
"Who cares about her, she's a lesbian."
Okay, the candle example I find rather insensitive actually. But perhaps because I have been conditioned by the distinctively American inhibitory sense of political-correctness. Like not all Muslims are militant, etc. In any event, it's not nice to joke about any incidence of mass murder, IMHO. The lesbian joke, while also not very politically correct, is funny like South Park funny.

And I don't know if the New Zealanders still feel superior to the Australians because back in the 19th Century, many British elites settled in New Zealand while many British convicts got sent to Australia. Perhaps the older generations still do?

Maybe it will take an external event of cataclysmic scale in order for all Earthlings to realize that... we are all Earthlings.

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