Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Victoria De Grazia – Hollywood and Cinema Culture – review

Based on "The Star System: How Hollywood Turned Cinema Culture into Entertainment Value"  in "Irresistable Empire: America's Advance through Twentieth Century Europe" by Victoria De Grazia.

Irresistible Empire: America's Advance through Twentieth-Century Europe

Victoria De Grazia analyzes the role of American culture and American cultural industries in the process of cultural globalization during the first half of the 20th century. In one of the chapters of "Irresistible empire" she reviews the way in which Hollywood cinema came to dominate European theatres. Her approach focuses on the industrial aspects of the culture industry such as technological innovations, financing, professional standards, studio size and function etc. in this De Grazia situates Hollywood's success not in the its quality of content but in organizational, technological and financial circumstances.

De Grazia holds that unlike the American film industry, European cinema was not perceived nor produced as a form of entertainment but rather as a means of expressing national of cultural traditions. The financial power of the American film industry, says De Grazia, slowly pushed aside this notion and tradition of filmmaking and replaced it with the production and consumption of cinema as entertainment. With American films filling theratres throughout Europe, local industries were forced to adapt and start producing entertainment of their own in order to compete with the products that came from America, and thus cinema, from a form of art or a medium of culture and tradition, became the entertainment focused industry we know today.