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I just know this is going to start some trouble, but I wan't to avoid it as long as possible. The topic is this:
Why is the U.S. portrayed in a bad light in foreign films?
Now I know not all foriegn films do this. I was just watching a lot of Japanese anime and noticed that, when mentioned, the U.S. was always portrayed in a really bad light. These where not historically based anime. Most of them where sci-fi and invisioned the U.S. becoming the Imperial States of America. I understand the Japanese still have a little emotion left over from WWII but Japanese anime isn't the only place I noticed it in.
Being understanding, I have decided to accept it though. Its kind of like a quote of one of my Russian friends: "In American films, good always triumphs over Russia!" I suppose that many action based movies simply need a bad guy, or there won't be a fight. Audiances need a character who is of the same nationality, so that they sympathise with the main character a lot more. If that same character needs an enimy to fight, then he can look like an underdog by fighting the barbaric yankees!
Thats my theory. Im sure there are a lot more reasons for it that are purely for cinimatic reasons.
Good topic. I too hope it remains viable.
Well, let's look at all the great heroes throughout history. They weren't measured for greatness because they defeated mediocre opponents.
They become great heroes by defeating great enemies. Sure some of it reflects the political climate of the time, but I for one am flattered to have America portrayed as the enemy.
When America is portrayed as a bunch of bumbling idiots and it's not a comedy movie it grates on me somewhat. But otherwise.. Bring it on all you foreign film makers, just go easy on the Roscoe P. Coaltrain/Boss Hogg characters!
PS. hey Shiver why don't you start a 'What's the best non-American made film' thread to go along with this one?
In anime Americans are always portrayed withing a certain few sterotypes for parody reasons. Most of the times the american in an anime is either a big violent guy with a mysterious past and manly stubble. (a jab on the western cartoons standard "anti-hero" archetype) He has more firepower then god and the IQ of an inbred toad. The other type is the rebelous gurngy rock-star with the addiction to japenese women and cheap beer. both of these are generaly there to make fun of american culture, which actualy has a pretty big influences on the parts of Japanese culture most directly involved with anime. Most of the anim series you see this in have a lot of parodies of Japanese culture as well,we just don't understand them here in America. In more serious animes, America is often used as a "bad guy" because in Japan, America is still largely viewed as a titan. America is large,wealthy nation with lots of power and wepons that vaporise entire cities with the harnessed power of 100 suns. A nation like this,or a character that represents it, is the perfct enemy for the heroic everyman (the hard working Japanese hero, who most likely was orphaned at a young age) to fight against. After all, heros would just be violent men with swords if they didn't have impossible odds to overcome.
My favourite reference to America so far was in the "Read or Die" movie. When the combined militaries had the terrorist base sorrounded they kept asking when it was time to "Unleash the Americans". We are the dogs of war XD.
totaly agree with that, your anime referal is from the ghost in the shell series(thank god i saw last weeks episode for that one)
being from america, and watching about a good three-four hours of japanese anime alone, i understand where this one comes from.
deep down, we all know thise terrorists are right and we americans are evil bastards. even though most of us dont mean to be.
i hope no one is offended by what i have said but what we americans are and what we say we are are really two different things.
Take my love, take my land, take me to where I cannot stand; I don't care I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.
"The difference between gods and daemons largely depends upon where one is standing at the time."- Lorgar
Member of the Fluff Masters Clan
hey the villains generally rock, it's nothing to be offended about
and for the record yes i am American (been living in England for four years now though)
but really we do it to plenty of other countries and who believes film stereotypes anyway?
I still hate Twiglets!
Have you guys seen GI Joe, to moto is ''the all american heroes!'' these guys have the worst aim ever, they beat the storm troopers in Star Wars. They never shot someone by fire!
Every action movie from the 80's and 90's were about some evil russian communists, or Arabic terrorists, it's just plain brainwashing IMO.
I think it's about time people get back at america in movies, after all the brainwashing that hollywood as done.
Nice topic starter. This could turn into an interesting dicussion as long as everyone remains objective.
Certainly the Japs have some issues re: the US. Very much a love-hate thing.
They love US culture yet feel that their own culture is under threat. The French are kind of the same, they have embraced some aspects of US culture (Blues, Jazz) but at the same time love to hate the US.
In fact most cultures feel under threat from that of the US.
In the Japanese case, their whole society has been focused on dealing with the percieved threat from the US, ever since Commodore Perry forced open the country at gun point in 1864. First in Military might before WWII, then in business and commerce afterwards.
Do you remember the old anime series 'Star Blazers'?. That was obviously based on Japanese experinces of the Pacific War and marked the re-sergence of Jap nationalism in the late sixties. The Gamelons (read US) are pounding the earth with long range radioactive weaponry (read atomic bombs) against which Earth has no apparent defense. Then they resurect the battle-ship Yamato and send it out to do battle with the Gamelons (whose spaceships look remarkably like American cruisers) and save the Earth.
The Yamato was the largest big gun Battleship ever built and the pride of the Japansese nation. When it was sunk by carrier-based torpedo bombers in 1945 the Japanese people suffered a huge shock. The Yamato was thought to be invincible and was the symbol of Japans' naval might. It's sinking brought home to the Japanese the fact that the war was lost. The resurection of the Yamato in Star Blazers symbolic of the resurgence of the Japanese National identity.
The huge faceless mega-corporation is often the bad guy in movies. The US being the home of the modern day globocorp, it's not suprising that the bad guys in these cases are often American Corporate Princes.
Is is why us canadians secretly own the world.
Also... in all of these movies enemys are always someome from another country. This leads into my beliefs on nature but I wont go there.
Now lets all go watch some cheep canadian films that steel everyone els idea.
CANADA WILL BOMB YOU ALL!
I remember Star Blazers! I did always find the fact that it was a medifor for the Japanese winning WWII to be funny. Especially because their sense of morality was about as cartoony as disneys.
My response to the negative images of Americans in Foreign Films is to point out how other countries are depicted in American films. European are ineffectual effimate surrender monkeys, Chinese are invincible food delivery ninjas, anyone with swarthy skin is a terrorist, Germans are either Kraftwerk rejects or Nazis, etc.
While we don't always depect other's as these stereotypes, we do it all too often.
In addition we truely do give off a bad face to the world, speaking as an American who 'went native' in germany for quite some time (and hopes to do so again) I can't describe how many times I've been approached by tourists starting out with "HELLO! I AM AN AMERICAN! YOU SPEEKIE ENGLISH? WHERE IS..." >_<
This is certainly not all americans but that's how we get noticed, the people around me didn't notice the american who blended in, instead they notice the yutz yelling his nationality out and being a pain in the ...
The result? They assume all americans are like that - it's easier to remember the times you're pissed off anyway
I imagine most who've lived outside the US have quite a few stories that are similar - doesn't mean we're bad any more than it means any of the other stereotypes are correct.
Well, that's my $0.02