Previously in class, we studied propagandistic and diplomatic uses of international media during the World Wars and the Cold War. International radio explicitly promoted government-approved messages. Nye’s notion of Soft Power examined how nations also lead by the attractiveness of their culture. Thus, in addition to explicit government media, a broad range of cultural artifacts from private media companies also influence perceptions of nations and cultures.
Film is an important dimension of soft power, so it is not surprising that Chinese conglomerates are forging relationships with Hollywood producers. Beijing Wanda Group’s acquisition of Legendary Pictures in 2016 led to the making of “The Great Wall” (optional reading), a national co-production starring Matt Damon. The film was panned by critics (optional but funny viewing). Moreover, the film made a measly $45,157,105 in the US. (Compare that to Lord of the Rings: $315,544,750). But the film made up for poor domestic sales by earning $334,550,106 worldwide . . . the largest portion ($170,590,000) from China.
In this discussion, we will examine portions of a film from 2017 and briefly evaluate its effectiveness as an expression of Chinese soft power. Use the viewing questions below. After viewing, explain how the film is or is not a good example of soft power as defined by Joseph Nye. You do not need to answer all of these questions in your response, but be sure to reference Nye (quickly quoting or paraphrasing) to make your observations about the film clear to your reader. Two-three paragraphs.
Clip #1: The West visits the East in “The Great Wall” (2017) Trailer
What does the plot (common/intercultural defense against an inhuman enemy) likely suggest to the Western viewer of this fictional history of East-West relations?
How does this fictionalized version of China’s Great Wall characterize the value of the actual Chinese Great Wall icon?
“I fought for greed and Gods. This is the first war I’ve seen worth fighting for.” The lead character (actor, Matt Damon) comments that this is the first “worthy” war he has fought. How are the values of the European world from which he came compared to the Chinese world he has entered?
Clip #2: Learning to “Trust in each other”
According to the scene, how does the film appear to be characterizing the relationship between East and West?
How does the dialog between these two embodiments of different cultures construct the relationship between them?
What might this scene tell audiences about East-West relations as they are embodied by these two lead characters?
The post Previously in class, we studied propagandistic and diplomatic uses of internatio appeared first on Skilled Papers.