From Hollywood >Bollywood> Nollywood?

Upon hearing the term Nollywood for the first time and attempting to convey its meaning and background it rang absolutely no bells in my mind…until yesterday. In class a bunch of examples were shown in an attempt to familiarise us with the truly one of a kind filming and editing style that is Nollywood. That afternoon when scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a ‘meme’ myself and probably every other Facebook users has seen at least a million times, then it clicked:

 

So for some background, ‘Nollywood’ as it was named, is a form of Nigerian cinema who’s prominence in the early 2000’s led to it’s title as the 3rd most profitable film industry following of course, Hollywood and Bollywood. As mentioned, the unusual filming and editing style, categorised by poor camera quality and camera angles, rigidly edited inserts and storylines is what makes Nollywood, Nollywood. The most common similarity Nollywood has to both the Hollywood and Bollywood film industries, is the production occurring among real life settings. However Nollywood takes this more literally, by capturing real people in ‘real life’ situations, usually featured in the background unintentionally, making it so raw and their reactions quite humorous. Although not appealing or understandable for a western viewing audience, this style of cinema is one of high prominence in Nigeria, however not in the viewing style we expect. Most commonly Nollywood is viewed in a relaxed and casual format, such as at cafe’s and in the home, hence the choppy storylines perfectly accompany this viewing form. Nollywood films to me, are what seems to be a very poor attempt at soap operas, which are bad enough on their own. But the obsession with this style of film, lies within the humour, the fact that no one gets whats going on is the best thing about them.

To illustrate the exact uniqueness of this film industry, the above insert of a ‘Nollywood’ episode, “Pretty Liars 1” is a kind of spinoff of the well known Hollywood series “Pretty Little Liars”. And before anyone thinks to say ‘copyright?’…that concept obviouslyy does not prevail in this industry. In a nutshell this ‘episode’ (I say this because it is an hour long) revolves around 3 women who are living a fake lavish life, until another women beats them at their own game, resulting in a plot for revenge. Sounds pretty generic and of course it is, I mean after all it is Nollywood. If this hour of complete confusion wasn’t enough there are in total 3 sequels under this concept, ‘Pretty Liars’, ‘Unbeatable Liars’ and ‘Beautiful Liars’ which come in 2 parts each, and you guessed it, they revolve around an almost identical storyline.

Snapshots of the film:

 

Although it is unlike anything ever seen before, Nollywood has made its name and like me, millions of people are exposed to the wonders of Nollywood on a regular social media viewing basis, its just that they don’t know it yet.

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In their shoes..

The idea of moving schools, universities or workplaces for individuals in general is daunting enough, but imagine the added pressure of moving abroad for this purpose. This anxiety is experienced by more than 12,000 out of a total of > 30,000 students at UOW alone (UOW Statistics), whether that be students arriving at UOW or leaving UOW for purposes such as exchange. One of the most common aspects of the international education experiences is the addition of opinion and advice based around parochial views represented by most notably, the media.

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Lack of personal experience in the area of international education proved very difficult when attempting to personally interpret the experience and feelings associated with it. So with this, I thought only appropriate that I take the wise advice of my tutor and ‘get amongst’ the international student experience. My assignment within an assignment found me in conversation with a former female international student from Sweden. I decided to base this post on a single conversation around their experience and see what it was like ‘in their shoes’.

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Understandably, my first assumption was to ask about Australia’s portrayal internationally and of course, the prevalence of kids riding kangaroos to school and frequency of having shrimp on the barbie was uncanny. Like the ‘dumb, drunk and racist’ perspective, to Swedes we are portrayed negatively, however in a more censored outlook, with a large emphasis on the ‘DUMB’ aspect. With these presumptions concrete in her perspective, it came as quite a shock that we Australians are actually ‘normal’ people, making the social aspect of settling much more comfortable. In terms of the educational processes undertaken, the idea that university came at a cost initially gave reason for the ‘dumb’ factor of our stereotype, I mean is it really rational to place a cost on further education, which will eventually add to our economy. Following the complete payment of university fee’s the only other differences in the technicalities of university, were variations in class times, duration and the availability of choice in terms of a timetable, as expected. One of the biggest surprises encountered in terms of Australian life outside of university was the lack of independence of her peers. One of the most fascinating examples she gave me was the fact that none of peers who lived locally, lived out of home, seeing as she had moved out of home even prior to moving countries at the ripe age of 20. The most prominent realisation she had experienced which dimmed her experience most, in terms of our society was the lack of freedom associated with youth and the almost curfew-ed nature of social life. Overall however she did mention university life was the overriding factor which kept her grounded. Finding common ground with students of similar background and accessing support via University run events (although not many at the time) made all the difference in her international student experience.

Perhaps our underestimated culture acts as relief for international students who upon arrival, find us to be “normal”.

 

The Ever-Changing Global Environment

The ever-changing nature of individuals backgrounds and eventual transition in and out of world communities can be categorised by the term globalisation. Arjun Appadurai’s 5 dimensions of global cultural flows, describe the interactive nature of ‘Ethnoscapes’, ‘Financescapes’, ‘Technoscapes’, ‘Mediascapes’ to form ‘Ideoscapes’ in keeping up with globalisation. Depending on perspective these ‘scapes’ are moulded together to form imagined communities by which similar ‘Ideoscapes’ allow “the nation to always be conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship” (Anderson, 6-7).

As a starting point, the extreme innovation under the ‘Technoscapes’ umbrella has impacted all other dimensions and created linked needs and relationships between dimensions. Most notably, the ever-charging technologically dependant ‘Mediascape’ has flourished to enable differing cultures to telecast the traditions of their national communities, globally. One of the most common Australian examples of a globally inclusive media source enabled through technology, would be the ‘Special Broadcasting Service’ (SBS). ‘SBS’ is a network which prides itself on providing “…culturally-relevant Australian media.” (www.sbs.com.au), through numerous channels on free to air TV, radio and online. The network acts as a channel of expression when it comes to ‘Ideoscapes’ of varying cultures, a common ground is established among imagined communities whereby face-to-face interaction is unnecessary for the development of cultural bonds. However in some cases through this ‘Mediascape’ comes a presentation of cultural imperialism whereby negative, narrow-minded cultural views may be incorporated by the Westernised society?

These ‘Mediascapes’, enabled through new technology, have immense impacts on the way in which conclusions are drawn about certain issues within imagined communities. The relationship between ‘Ethnoscapes’ and ‘Financescapes’ see the need for integration of appropriate policies in order to suit newly introduced, globalised concepts such as, tourism, immigration and travel for employment, which enable capital flow through and between nations. An instance regarding the combination of ‘scapes’ is that of Asylum seekers. Technological advancements in the mechanical field enable the creation of transport for these asylum seekers (Technoscapes), who are fleeing countries in some cases, for hope of more prosperous future (Ethnoscapes- immigration/Fiancescapes). In turn they are encountering legalities with their entry into a nation, in this case Australia (Ethnoscapes). This issue is being televised on networks such as (SBS) (mediascapes), whereby, upon being conveyed by westernised media, has a negative effect on overall ‘Ideoscapes’ of these imagined communities.

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As illustrated in the example above, ‘Ideoscapes’ are no longer developed off face value or surroundings, but rather a combination of what is most commonly depicted in ‘Mediascapes’.  It can be seen however, that although some scapes subtly intertwine in a scenario, such as ‘Financescapes’ in the Asylum seeker example, these dimensions are never singularly depicted but rather act fluidly in all cases of globalisation.

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