The Power of Global Film

What is the Impact of Global Film?

The impact of global film is felt all over the world. But no stronger is it felt than in the booming film industry nations of Nigeria and South Korea. Within these unique and diverse countries global film enabled them to spread their individualised cultures to all corners of the Earth.

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Onookome Okome’s article on ‘Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption’ indicates the rapid rate of film production in Nigeria and its powerful ‘Nollywood’. Once dominated by The Francophone cinema of French West Africa, Nollywood has taken control over the majority of the African film industry to create content that mirrors their customs, concerns and beliefs.

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Today Nollywood is the third largest film industry in the world; where thirty new titles are delivered to shops and market stalls across Nigeria every week, and where an average film sells 50,000 copies.

Thus Nollywood has become a beacon of global film. For while Okome argues that the true power of Nollywood is in its ability to temporarily enrapture and empower its audience. I believe that it is rather Nollywood’s power to spread unique cultural ideas and themes across the globe to further the world’s understanding of its culture and people and create novel cultural hybrids.

As the CAI says ‘Other African countries have followed in the footsteps of Nollywood by producing movies on video. This allows them to tell their stories, which are predominantly done by the West and a few African filmmakers.’ Thus Nollywood has not only been able to spread its stories as seen in The Barbados Film Festival mentioned by Okome; but has also begun a trend for other African countries to create their own films to educate the world on their own unique culture.

South Korea

The power of global film upon South Korea lies in its ability to transform the country from a passive underling of the more dominant countries in the region (such as China and Japan) to a powerhouse of culture that now acts as the bridge between the opposing cultures of the East and West.

This is seen in ‘Globalisation, or the logic of cultural hybridization: the case of the Korean Wave’ by Woongjae Ryoo: “Winter Sonata [a Korean love drama], became the rage in Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and Uzbekistan after it drove Japanese audiences into something of a frenzy in 2004” The film indicates the sweeping nature of the Korean Wave and also defies Jeon & Yoon’s argument that the Korean Wave is a form of cultural imperialism (in which I agree with Ryoo) as even powerful, industrialised countries such as Japan were willingly gripped by it.

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Thus the Korean Wave transcended its previously rigid cultural boundaries to spread new ideas, themes and “and faster and less predictable, even unique, storylines” (Ryoo).

Why is Global Film Important?

Not only is it the power of global film to reveal the previously-regionalised cultures of Nigeria and South Korea to the world at large, having global film creates a global memory of culture. As Amresh Sinha argues in ‘Millennial Cinema : Memory in Global Film’ we use these global films as signposts to relate us back to where we’ve been in history.

Through this we create a global history that we are all a part of.



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