The Integration of Cultures
The Integration of Cultures

Although the United States may play a dominant role within the phenomenon of cultural globalization, it is important to keep in mind that this is not an entirely one-way street. Many other countries also contribute to global culture, including American culture itself. Just as American popular culture influences foreign countries, other national cultures are influential within the United States and also increase their presence worldwide.

Hollywood is a good example of an industry that integrates elements from more than one culture. Most people would think of Hollywood as something entirely American. However, while Hollywood dominates world cinema, American movies are subject to foreign influence. According to The Economist, “one reason for Hollywood’s success is that from the earliest days it was open to foreign talent and foreign money.” Many American movies are remakes of foreign films. For example, the 2007 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, “The Departed”, is a remake of the Chinese film, “Infernal Affairs.

There has also been a recent explosion of American remakes of European films.  A perfect example is “The Tourist” (originally the French film, “Anthony Zimmer”) which raked in $287 million at the box office.  In 2011 the Millennium Trilogy, a Swedish series, was adapted to film in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” which opened to critical acclaim and grossed over $230 million at the box office (Box Office Mojo, 2011).

Also, many film-making companies, producers, and actors in Hollywood are not inherently American. The Columbia Tristar and Twentieth Century Fox companies are owned by Japan’s Sony and Australia’s News Corporation, respectively, two foreign media conglomerates. James Cameron, producer of the movie Titanic, is Canadian. Moreover, many of Hollywood’s most famous actors are not Americans. Arnold Schwarzenegger is from Austria, and Nicole Kidman grew up in Australia. From this perspective, it can be argued Hollywood is a multicultural institution.

However, it is also true that actors such as Nicole Kidman and Mel Gibson, upon arriving in Hollywood, were given language lessons to help them lose their foreign accents. Hollywood producers ask actors to Americanize their accents largely over sensitivities that American audiences might perceive actors negatively if they appeared to be foreign. So, while Hollywood may incorporate many foreign elements into its craft—especially behind the scenes—its public face is distinctly American

Click here to learn about the blending of cultures in world music.

* Picture Source: www.picapp.com

 

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