Since its beginning, Hollywood has always been one of the proponents of American culture and sub-culture, detailing the small details on the same. Actor and film producers continue to tell vivid stories on how different ethnicities and cultures have formed the larger American Culture. More than this, Hollywood has been known to be a proponent of the decay of traditional values (Erigha 78-89). Liberal and futuristic depictions of society continue to dominate much of the stories and films that are produced in Hollywood, pushing the American culture into the perceived future. While this continued production may seem like important influences of liberal modernism, there are those who argue that Hollywood is a core contributor to the decay of traditional values.
Some of the most dominant themes in Hollywood films include social issues, sex, and gender, historical films and movies that surround social groups, like minorities (Erigha 78-89). These themes often dive into the specific socio-cultural issues that face different people across the world. Historical movies talk about the world war, political and social historical moments like Slavery and the Civil Rights movement (Erigha 78-89). Films that discuss the social groups seek to discern the struggles of marginalized groups and minorities. In doing this, the film industry in the country has been able to clearly depict the social and cultural structure of the American people. These themes are often presented in a manner that celebrates the American culture in all its glory and flaws.
These themes are often given the different story lines but have underlying principles that continue to be re-written in different ways. A general look at Holly wood will depict the recurrent use of specific motifs like Man versus Nature. This story often depicts the vulnerabilities of man. Mother Natures cruel side is a core element in this movies citing naturally occurring phenomena like Aliens, Tsunamis, and earthquakes. These movies often represent the advancement in technology and associated tradeoffs (Buffam 1). Movies like Armageddon, The Day after Tomorrow and Piranhas, tell of how fragile humans can be and the reality that is it at the mercy of Mother Nature that humans continue to live
Man versus himself/herself is another recurrent theme. This particular theme often takes the perspective of an individual looking to overcome some deep-seated battle within themselves. The predispositions of life and ever competing emotional, social and cultural influences often make for a majority of mans major concerns (Buffam 1). In these films, the capacity to control ones demons is brought to light, and clear depictions of the struggles of everyday people are addressed (Buffam 1). Ambition, intellect, greed and lust are recurrent issues that are addressed in films like The God Father, and Scarface.
Another recurrent theme is the loss of innocence. Many of these movies depict the journey that one person take from childhood and the protection of their families to that of adult life. Coming of age stories often depict a young protagonist, filled with naive and ill-informed hope (Buffam 1). As his interaction with the world gets easier, there are different instances where the innocence that they once had in interacting with the world is all but lost. Training Day, for instance, is a clear depiction of such stories. The moral fiber of an individual is often twisted to the core, eliciting some of the darker and often buried natures and character traits of human beings.
Individuals versus Society also make a large number of films and plot lines in Holly Wood. The need to change the status quo is one of the most prevalent stories that continue to take some of the most important twists. Movies like Bourne Ultimatum talk of individual who tries to take down illegal and corrupt institutions (Buffam 1). In these movies, the cause of the protagonist is to come to terms with society. They, therefore, sacrifice everything to achieve this one goal.
Triumph over adversity is another recurrent motif. Many of the movies that are produced in Hollywood talk about the journey that individuals take to bring themselves closer to a dream and escape poverty and adversity. It is important to note that the difference in the way these stories are told touch on different marginalized groups and races (Buffam 1). The underlying principle often seeks to depict the desire of the protagonist to overcome their immediate challenges and propel themselves out of their situations.
It must be noted that the influence of Hollywood transcends the American Society and take an active influence on a global perspective. More than any other influence, the films that have been produced in Hollywood have had a significant cultural influence on the global film industry and by extension the world culture. Many of the themes that are addressed by the films produced in Hollywood have had an impact on the world perception of the United States of America and more importantly their culture. For this reason, the film industry in the United States has defined the standard for the film industry.
The film industry has grown significantly. Hollywood, however, remains as a core influence in the global industry with film industries in Nigeria and India taking Nollywood and Bollywood as their preferred industry name. Having successfully sold the America to the world, the international film industry has been one of the core influence of the global industry. It is important to note that the stories and films that are produced in Hollywood continue to influence the direction and standard of production internationally. Stories that revolve around this theme have been reproduced in the different parts of the world.
More than this, the projection of American value and perception of their culture have seeped into other continents as a result of mass production of American Films. As an industry, fairy tales and even the belief in fictional characters like Santa Clause are celebrated around the world (Ibbi 93-106). Hollywood has been one of the primary stewards of American culture all over the world. The resulting impact of this depiction has seen a lot more people embracing American culture. Looking at the world, there are several different cultural allusions that continue to take root in the international scene (Ibbi 93-106).
Advancements in technology continue to increase the influence of the Hollywood into the world film industry. Formerly inaccessible content has seeped throughout the world, furthering the reach that the film industry in Hollywood has in the world (Matusitz and Payano 123-138). Disney theme parks are now established in China furthering the influence of the industry (Ibbi 93-106). This is a testament to the influence that the industry has had one the world. In India, formerly prohibited scenes and filming approaches continue to take root in the Indian film industry (Ibbi 93-106). Explicit romance was formerly not part of the Bollywood culture but has since penetrated the Indian film industry and taken root in Bollywood.
The Nigerian film industry has also seen a lot of growth in the last decade and a half. Many of the people who formerly appreciated Hollywood productions have strayed from it and come to appreciate and even completely detach themselves from Hollywood productions. The movie in Nigeria are often cheap and rapidly produced (Ibbi 93-106). The stories that were depicted revolved around witchcraft, something that was not appreciated internationally. While the filmmakers in the industry continued to produce their films, the influence of Hollywood has seen some of the themes popular in Hollywood take root into the Nigerian culture (Ibbi 93-106). Different American allusions like sexual content and even American dressing have taken root in the Nigerian film industry, which is a testament to the influence of Hollywood industry (Cunningham 361-380).
Cultural Imperialism best suits the influence that Hollywood has on the rest of the world. This is the domination of one culture due to its popularity over other less prominent cultures. The international film industry continues to follow and sometimes mimic the productions of Hollywood (Ibbi 93-106). Their influence over the international industry cannot be contested. As more movies from the industry continue to take root into cultures across the world, production in other places other than the United States of America continues to assimilate American culture (Ibbi 93-106). The different cultural and political influences in Hollywood are systematically taking hold of the world (Matusitz and Payano 123-138). Other than the standard of production, the American culture continues to overwhelm the world through stories that are told in their productions.
Buffam, Noelle. "Top 10 Central Themes In Film - The Script Lab". Thescriptlab.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
Cunningham, Patricia A. "Fashion In Popular Culture". A Companion to Popular Culture (2016): 361-380. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
Erigha, Maryann. "Race, Gender, Hollywood: Representation In Cultural Production And Digital Media's Potential For Change". Sociology Compass 9.1 (2015): 78-89. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
Ibbi, Andrew Ali. "Hollywood, The American Image And The Global Film Industry." CINEJ Cinema Journal 3.1 (2014): 93-106. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
Matusitz, J., and P. Payano. "Globalisation Of Popular Culture: From Hollywood To Bollywood." South Asia Research 32.2 (2012): 123-138. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
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