BLST 171 term paper


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USE AS REFERENCE MATERIAL ONLY BL ST171, Akudinobi, UCSB Africa in Film The popularity of films in Western culture has grown significantly in the past century. Westerners use film and movies as entertainment as well as sources of information. One of the forces behind this rise in popularity as well as a rise in the number of films produced is the film industry in Hollywood. The West has become dependent on media and film to inform them about events and to give insight into places and things foreign to the West. Due to the Western domination of all forms of media, such as film, since their inception, it was nearly impossible for the rest of the world to voice their own opinions or stories. Therefore, places such as Africa were portrayed not for accuracy, but to reinforce Western opinions of and actions in Africa. The West created the staples of media, from news to entertainment and film, and monopolized them, setting industry standard as well as certain expectations according to Western society. As the West became accustomed to these forms and styles of media, anything foreign or unfamiliar was quickly dismissed and not given credibility. This paper plans to examine the construction of the Western film and how it dismisses foreign film and thought as well as dominates Western view of the unknown. When one attends a Hollywood or Western film, depending on the genre or theme one can expect certain aspects. For example, in an action film one would expect action-packed, big explosions, car chases, and so on. For a drama one would expect a character posed with a problem who then needs to find the solution. Westerners expect a clear protagonist and antagonist or clearly defined ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys.’ One can even begin to expect certain plotlines as they often become very commonplace and repetitive throughout Western film. As
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Westerners became accustomed to these familiar characters and plotlines, anything foreign, whether foreign in nature or subject, is not and cannot be readily accepted. Something as simple as subtitles can defer Western viewers and therefore movies not in English are often hard to find in mainstream Western film. Westerners have become accustomed to films catering to them and being made for them and their entertainment. As this has set a standard for Western film, anything out of this format is often pushed aside. Often less emphasis is placed on the quality or message of the film but a film is judged based on the actors, film companies, and the films ability to entertain. As movie making in the West has become a multi-million dollar business, if not more, it becomes more difficult for smaller contenders to express themselves on an even playing field. This dominance over film has not been recent.
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2008 for the course BL ST 171 taught by Professor Akudinobi during the Winter '08 term at UCSB.

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