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FILM AS AN EXPRESSION OF CULTURAL AND NATIONAL IDENTITY Donata Puntil Kings College London 23rd March 2012

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Presentation on theme: "FILM AS AN EXPRESSION OF CULTURAL AND NATIONAL IDENTITY Donata Puntil Kings College London 23rd March 2012"— Presentation transcript:

1 FILM AS AN EXPRESSION OF CULTURAL AND NATIONAL IDENTITY Donata Puntil Kings College London 23rd March 2012


3 Cultural and social/historical perspectiveCultural and social/historical perspective Linguistic perspectiveLinguistic perspective ConclusionsConclusions

4 Bring the world into our houses/lives: cultural landscape Bridge the gap between imaginary and real life Offer multicultural contexts and interpretations or mis-interpretations Are frameworks of behaviours and linguistic patterns, codes and conventions

5 CULTURE Linguistic Anthropological Social Individual Political Cultural/Social/Historical Perspective

6 Each significant period is constructed around a particular mode of production; that is, the way in which a society is organized […] to produce the necessities of life […]how society produces its means of existence […] ultimately determines the political, social and cultural shape of that society. Storey, 1997 –p. 101-102 Gramsci Gramsci : dominant culture (culture as representative of ruling class ideology) Althusser Althusser: Ideological State Apparatus (simbolic representation of the established reality) Marxist approach

7 Mutual dependence Mutual dependence: bounded in organizational systems, but enjoying autonomy from the state more active audience 1970-80 Barthes: Barthes: mass media as a process analogous to language where meaning is constructed instead of represented (myth) MacLuhan MacLuhan: the medium is the meaning

8 1990s Lacan – Foucault - Eco Lacan – Foucault - Eco: media as modes of discourse, distorting reality being hypotheses, ideologies, illusions appear to reproduce reality invisible oppression and ideological manipulation

9 Audience Reader Student Post-modern approach

10 reflect dominant culture determine cultural views are a cultural product Almost everything we know about people, places and events that we cannot visit first-hand comes from the media […] television and film have become the story-tellers of our generation; these stories tell us about who we are, what we believe and what we wan to be. Tyner and Lloyd, 1991

11 Visual representation of reality (iconic code – images) Verbal representation of reality (texts and sounds) AUDIO-VISUAL MESSAGE (multidimensional - multimodal)




15 ……every film is: An artistic product An historical document A cultural product and a producer of culture A representation of society A reproduction of reality A subjective and ideological interpretation A complete text with its own language, its own narrative structure, its own symbolism, its own semantics, etc.

16 …… every film is: A very rich product which allows many possibilities of being interpreted, first of all as a cultural product of a given period, but also as an instrument to see how society represented itself in a different time and space

17 ……so its very important to distinguish: REALITY FROM FICTION REAL EVENTS FROM IMAGINARY EVENTS

18 In an interview on cinema Pasolini said In an interview on cinema Pasolini said: I have always being interested in editing and I always thought that every documentary always presents a very subjective point of view: with this I mean that if there had been 700 documentaries on Kennedys assassination, each of them could have shown a different perspective, even if all of them would have been based on the same historical event, but they would have portrayed a different vision of that reality. I like to think that if a detective could have worked on the editing process of all those documentaries, maybe he could have arrived at the truth behind that death. For this reason I really think that editing is an extreme important part of a film narrative …… it is a bit like death ….until a person is dead, you dont really know who that person was…... Channel 4, Whoever says the truth shall die, 4th February 1987

19 Reading a film is: An interactive process in which the audience is in a relationship with the creator of a film and is interpreting all his/her messages through the language of the images It is never a simple, linear, transparent process, but...

20 ……… is the result of that interaction between many different factors (images, music, colours, movements, gestures, words, etc.) each of these factors has a different impact on a different viewer/reader Is the interaction between the creator of the meaning (the director etc.) + the historical period it has been created + the historical period it portrays + its ideology and the consumer of that message + the historical period it is watched + its ideology, etc.

21 INTERPRETATION: UNCONSCIOUS PROCESSUNCONSCIOUS PROCESS Implied knowledge Own experiences Implied social and ideological influences CONSCIOUS PROCESSCONSCIOUS PROCESS Acquired knowledge Critical analysis Social and cultural/ideological external experiences

22 INTERPRETATION: intuition observation contestualization decodification

23 Develop general competences (transferable skills, autonomous reconstruction of meaning) Develop communicative competence (linguistic) Develop cultural competence (awareness of ones and foreign culture) Develop inter-cultural competence (awareness of ones own culture, of cultural diversities) Develop a critical perspective (active receiver/reader, challenging stereotypes) WHAT DOES IT MEAN BEING MEDIA-LITERATE?

24 Communicative Socio-cultural Strategic (learning how to learn) Language and culture awareness WHAT DOES IT MEAN BEING MEDIA-LITERATE?

25 - Offer many opportunities to be read-interpreted - Are a mirror of a certain age and society - Are cultural products but also they produce culture - Represent the way a country portrays itself - Rely on previously acquired knowledge (inter- textuality) - Expand language awareness - Encourage talks about opinions, feelings, points of view - Represent a stimulus for language acquisition

26 ITALIAN NEOREALISM A creative movement in Italian cinema and literature after World War II Had a huge influence all over the world Was a way in which a nation portrayed itself, represented itself to itself and to the world Was very important for the development of a national consciousness/identity A reaction to 20 years of dictatorship and censorship

27 ITALIAN NEOREALISM Use of non-professional actors Use of real locations Use of natural light Non based on a script Use of dialects No special effects etc. Portray of reality as close as possible to real life Direct relationship with the viewer Based on real stories/people

28 […] Italian culture is more than everything a visual culture: cities, landscape, people, food, you cannot understand these aspects without seeing them with your own eyes […] (student interview) A film opens up a wild spectrum for discussion, culturally, linguistically, its very rich to have a film as a basis for discussion and broadening ones view as well as language knowledge […] (student interview)

29 What do you think you you learned most in this term? I feel I have learned so much not only on the language side, but also on Italian culture and film in general. Primarily the culture, although I am noticing that I am picking up expressions and words that I would not hear from the teacher or fellow students, so I am getting good exposure to the Italian language as well. Culture more than language, […] although it is possible to follow a film without understanding the language. (students interviews)

30 Through multimedia in particular, language is no longer just a list of grammatical paradigms or lexical items. Rather, it is intimately associated with all kinds of verbal and paraverbal behaviours, an acoustic and visual context that is indissociable from the larger societal context in which the words are uttered. Language, in a sense, has become culture. Similarly, culture is no longer just the factual pieces of information that textbooks present in the form of culture capsules on foreign mores, but is produced and reproduced under our very eyes, on the screen, through what people say and how they say it. In multimedia, culture is inscribed in language use…

31 From a discourse or anthropological perspective, linguistic structures, as they are used in communicative situations, are embedded in the whole social system and historical context of culture; they are but one system of signs among many that people use to give meaning to their environment. Other signs include not only gestures, facial expressions, body movements, verbal and non-verbal sounds, and proxemics, but also cultural artefacts such as traffic, noise and folk, music, pictures and billboards, and landscape and city maps. Linguistic signs acquire their meaning because they point to other signs in the environment. When learners go abroad and interact with the members of the host culture, all these signs are there, live, to be recognized and decoded. Andersen, R.W., Kramsch, C.,Teaching Text and Context through Multimedia, in LANGUAGE LEARNING & TECHNOLOGY, Vol.2, n.2, Jan.1999. Pp.31.

32 BIBLIOGRAPHY Andersen, R.W., Kramsch, C.,Teaching Text and Context through Multimedia, in LANGUAGE LEARNING & TECHNOLOGY, Vol.2, n.2, Jan.1999. Althusser, L., Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus, in Lenin, and philosophy and other essays, Western Printing Services, Bristol, 1971 Barthes, R., Image, Music, Text, Fontana/Collins, Glasgow, 1977 Bignell, J. Media Semiotics, an Introduction, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1997 Bondanella, Peter, Italian Cinema from Neorealism to the Present, Continuum, New York, 1983. Evans, J., Hall, S., Visual Culture: the Reader, Sage, London, 1999 Fairclough, N. Media Discourse, Arnold, London, 1995 Gramsci, A., Lettere dal carcere, Einaudi, 1947 Kracauer, S., Theory of Film, the Redemption of Physical Reality, OUP, London, 1960. Inglis, F., Media Theory: an introduction, Blackwell,Oxford, 1990 Landy, M., Italian Film, CUP, Cambridge, 2000 MacLuhan, M., Understanding Media:the extensions of men, MacGrawHill, N.Y., 1964 Sholle, D. and Denski,S., Media education and the (Re) production of Culture, Greenwood P.G.,Westport, 1994 Sorlin, P., Italian National Cinema, Routledge, London, 1996 Storey, J., Cultural Theory and popular culture, Prentice Hall, Hertfordshire, 1997 Tyner K.R.and Kolkin,D.L. Media and you: elementary literacy curriculum, 1991

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