Global Film: Okja

Okja is a fictional film by South korean film director and writer Bong joon ho, set in the mountains of South Korea a farm girl Mija and her genetically modified pig ‘Okja’ face the evil corporation that wants to destroy Okja. The film’s clear storyline follows the innocence of the unconditional love shared between a young girl and her pet. Whilst on a larger scale looks at the animal farming industry questioning the ethics behind it through in a unique and heart tugging light.

Although this film would not easily translate to some cultures, as eating animal products is apart of their everyday being, meaning some would reject this films importance.Although Okja is set in South Korea, there are familiarites such as western actors playing roles in the film to broaden audiences of the global north familiarity with the film. As well there is a mutual and consistent theme throughout the film that is easily adapted and  can be found relatable by more than just one culture. These themes are coming of age through the character mija, animal rights activism and diversity. By just naming a few we are able to understand why the film has such wide impact and ressonates to many. Cultural Proximity also suggest that people are able to be more engaged through clear storytelling as displayed in joon ho’s film as a result expands the films overall appeal.

Animal rights and activism has made a fast uprise in the global north as many people have become aware of animal mistreatment through media outlets, making some rethink their eating habits. Although in many cultures eating animals is a way of life for some through convenience and also religion. Okja’s success in the global north can be due to these reasons.

Netflixs involvement in the release of the film allowed it to be easily accessible for people around the world to watch. Lotz (2017) “It’s now possible for a series to release new episodes for viewers around the world, and the result is a global watercooler – a shared media culture that transcends national boundaries.”

Bong joon ho’s carefully infuses elements of both western and asain culture throughout the film. Blending the two cultures relates to ideas of cultural hybridisation. As Straubhaar (2007) mentions “Audiences tend to reject cultural products like television programs that are too distant from their own cultural realities…. …conversely, audiences are attracted to cultural similarity or proximity”. With this thought, through the blending of two cultures allows audiences from each culture to adapt and engage in the film entirely, which could explain why Okja travelled so successfully around the world.

Global Music

How Grime has been localised to suit Londons issues and concerns.

Grime is an electronic dance music that emerged in London in the early 2000’s. Recognisable names in the Grime scene come as Wiley named as the “Godfather of Grime” and Akala both highly influential members in the rise of grime as they represent the true essence of it.Grime enabled low socioeconomic status to express challenges and  hardships faced within their community. Wiley as mentioned above, emerged from the underground being self produced to making his music and genre the most popular. On the other hand Akala is not only a foundation of the genre of grime but also a strong activist using his platform to spread awareness on racism due to his struggles growing up as a mixed race in British society.

Grime is a perfect example of a genre of music that has been localised across many cultures to serve as a voice to that community issues and concerns. Adams (2019, p.439) reflects on the diversity and inclusion in Grime, as London is a multicultural city, “Although a predominantly black musical form, grime does not preclude an “authentic” white (or other ethnic) identification; both musically and lyrically it illustrates a process of cultural blending, which creates new modes of identity and expression.”

The Repercussions of Appropriating Cultures in Music

Cultural appropriation is the act in which a person adopts a culture from another without permission.The art form of Hip hop became particularly popular in the music world and was being adopted by white artists and celebrities as a trend. In the early 2000’s we saw many R&B stars were seen to be styling their hair in cornrows as a fashion statement, although in black culture cornrows are practicality. Black women use cornrows to settle their hair this everyday practice affirms their culture and self identities. Thus celebrities who have no awareness of the deep significance these hairstyles have is highly problematic. Artists such as Madonna, Gwen Stefani and Miley Cyrus have all been seen to adopt black culture, as displayed in Cyrus’s 2013 music video “We can’t stop” is shown twerking and using black women as props.  what these celebrities fail to do is when cultural appropriation comes about. Another detrimental effect of Cultural appropriation is when artists started profiting through the culture they are adopting, in this case ‘hip hop’ although during this time when hip hop was on the rise the black people matter movement began. The movement was prompted by the multiple acts of police brutality, protesting, media coverage and celebrities all used their platform to spread awareness on these issues yet many of the artists who adopted black culture into their art form failed to do so. So when members from another culture choose to adopt black culture without acknowledging or understanding the everyday hardships that culture faces but is happy to flaunt that cultures attributes as well as profit becomes a serious repercussion on that cultures progression.

Global Tv

Where does the ‘television’ you consume come from? 

With Netflix as the main and constant stream for the television shows and movies, it has enabled us not only the convenience of having access to all this media but as well has introduced global television that may not have been available to us before. Nowadays we have the opportunity to watch television from across the world, that ultimately give us the tool to explore different cultures through media.

What does it tell you about the world in which you live? 

It tells me that the world we live in today has access to a vast amount of television than ever before making us more global. Lotz (2017) “It’s now possible for a series to release new episodes for viewers around the world, and the result is a global watercooler – a shared media culture that transcends national boundaries.”  continuing as we can understand with the arrival of Netflix at the touch of our hands it has allowed us to become engrossed in media that is being made across the globe. Through the internet on platforms like Netflix has changed the way we watch and what we watch in a revolutionary way.

The Global Success of : Game of Thrones and Failure of American remake: Kath & Kim

HBO’s Game of Thrones series had huge global success, referred to as “Tv’s First Global Blockbuster” Lotz (2017). The series is set in a fantasy world, in which the act of winning is met with greater costs. Game of Thrones was a tv series unlike anything been done before, its production value was at ties with one of a movie. Whilst its global success was clearly due to its appealing visual standard other factors made it into the blockbuster it is seen as today. 

Straubhaar (2007) comments on why audiences engage or reject television programs based on their cultural realities, they are more likely to be interested to cultural similarity or proximity. In theory, Game of Thrones is set in a far distant world, that not many cultures can identify to. Lotz (2017) explains how its setting was one of the reasons for its global success Its fantasy setting takes place in a world that isn’t geographically or culturally distinctive to the U.S., which also broadens audience appeal. Television shows that aren’t country-specific… tend to be among the most successful in international trade.”

In contradiction how can this American medieval show be so successful in relation to the cultural proximity theory. This theory suggests that audiences prefer their local due to the familiarity of culture.This is demonstrated through the successful and well renowned Tv series, Kath and Kim when introduced into an American remake completely lost its organic and individualism that the Australian version embodied. Although the produces tried to culturally accommodate to American viewers through setting the series in suburban town of Arizona Due to this lack of success we can acknowledge that comedies aren’t easily localised, as they don’t translate well to other cultures as each have their own sense of humour, thus ‘Cultural Proximity’ is evident.

Thus through these two case studies, we can appreciate what makes a successful global tv series. People tend to be more engaged with content when they are able to find cultural similarity or proximity as explored through the success of Game Of Thrones, whereas something like comedy hit tv series in Australia is not able to travel and be adapted by another culture inevitably losing its authenticity.

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