May 26, 2011 / Filmwell
Kenji Koiso has his summer vacation all planned out: he and his friend Sakuma have …
October 27, 2009
“Is American cinema imperialist? In a word, YES,” says Facets Multimedia founder Milos Stehnlik in his regular commentary this week for Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview program.
Over-simplified characters and cartoonish plot-resolution lead to an eye-for-an-eye philosophy where conflict is resolved by the gratuitous use of excessive force. In the tried and true good-guy versus bad-guy morality tales of American Westerns, good and evil may have been overt, but they were governed by a code of honor: may the guy with the surest aim and the fastest trigger win. Today, this code has been put on steroids. Conflict resolution plays out with entire buildings, planes, boats, cities or planets destroyed in battles to the death between good and evil characters.
Sweetheart deals gave Hollywood special access to European markets after World War II. Exporting American films overseas was part of the Marshall Plan that reconstructed post-war Europe. American films were viewed as a way to oppose Communism by promoting the “American way of life.” U.S. films were dumped at cut-rate prices onto war-torn Europe, whose film industries were in ruins, under the guise of promoting the “free market.”
This scheme gave American films world-wide dominance. Today, entertainment is America’s largest export, with sales higher than any other industry, accounting for over 60 billion dollars annually. English-language films account for about 65% of the worldwide box office gross.