Download PDF by Katrin Sieg (auth.): Choreographing the Global in European Cinema and Theater

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11 Since the 1960s, European cinema has become increasingly defined—and marketed abroad—as art house cinema, associated with a realist style, open or multiple narratives, a comparatively uninhibited approach to sexuality and the body, and a preoccupation with national history and concerns (Forbes and Street 2000). 13 While MEDIA has prioritized commercial viability, EURIMAGES has focused on artistic value, striving to foster cinematic treatments of European identity and cultural diversity. The former attempted to apply the lessons of Hollywood’s success by seeking to strengthen especially pan-European distribution, while the latter helped fund some of the most critically acclaimed European films of the 1990s.

S. 17 That conflict reinvigorated the familiar terms of European-American cultural competition, however, at a time when the media business was undergoing changes not just in the United States but worldwide. Europeans’ accusation of American cultural imperialism on that occasion, however, constructs a political hegemony that disavows both the dispersal of Hollywood across international production sites and the rise of transnational media conglomerates in Europe during the 1980s and ’90s. Vivendi-Universal’s acquisition of Canal+, Europe’s most active and successful studio that produced Klapisch’s Europudding, exemplifies this development.

The plays Bambiland (2003) and Babel (2005) echo and even cite directly some of the most rigorous scholarly critiques and indictments of globalization in its current, militarized mode. The discussion of the plays allows me to engage with their arguments. The sharp tensions between the United States and some European states over the Iraq war have given rise to the perception that the longtime transatlantic partners embody opposites in terms of styles of power and perhaps even of styles of globalization.

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