Jack brought his glass from the kitchen into the living room and squeezed through the space between two chairs to sit down on his seat. He took a sip from his glass, his fifth coke that evening, and leaned forward to place it on the table. Thinking, he held on in midair and decided to keep it in his hands. He’d probably take another sip any minute. There wasn’t much else he could do.

Family meetings were always quite hard. He had wondered so often why that is, but his mind wouldn’t come up with a plausible answer. Was it because he had a boring family? He actually didn’t think so. In fact, he looked forward to seeing his family whenever they haven’t done so in a while. When they all met, his parents, his aunts, his cousins, his grand-aunts and their children and last but not least his grandma, he enjoyed their company for a bit; they were funny, had interesting topics and never really sat in silence.

Dana ran into her door and bounced back with a strange look on her face. Oh, the key, right. She seemed to have locked the door when she left without even noticing. That was probably due to the clashing thoughts that fought for attention in her mind. There was just too much going on in her life, she wished God would give her some rest every once in a while.

Once the door was unlocked, she pushed hard against the heavy wood and unscrewed the bottle of water that she had just gotten from the kitchen. Her hair was greasy and small sweat peals ran down her forehead. She did not like it, but there were more important things to care about right now.

As the water ran down the hot desert in her throat, she sat down on the chair and breathed in deeply for a few times. She just wanted a few seconds until she headed off again. It took her some more seconds in the silence of her small room than she expected, but finally she straightened her back and screwed the bottle. “Let’s get started”, she said to herself.

5.  Define a ‘blockbuster,’ and outline the economic logic which has encouraged the emergence of the blockbuster trend. In your answer, please use one recent film as a central example.

2012 (Roland Emmerich, 2009) is a contemporary Hollywood “blockbuster”, a term originating from large-scale World War II bombs and since the 1950s coining major film hits (Steve Neale: 47). Blockbusters emerged in America in the 1950s to 1970s as part of the New Hollywood and by using 2012 as a central example, this essay explains their historical development and defines blockbusters.

The major studio’s oligopoly in the USA ended with the Paramount anti-trust suit in 1949, overturning the vertical integration system where exhibition was secured due to the studio’s own first-run cinemas. “Consent decrees” gave cinemas independence and led to new competition (Jill Nelmes: 35).

Peter Kramer, senior lecturer in Film Studies, had news for his audience at the Cultural Exchanges event (4/3/10): Hollywood is not really American; it’s rather a global network.
Who would have thought that?

Hollywood steals resources from all over the world. German directors, British novel adoptions, African culture or Canadian cities like Vancouver, used to resemble New York, just to name a few. Only two things are still American about the production – the monitoring body in Los Angeles, CA, and American scriptwriters.

This relates to the Europeanization of Hollywood that occurred in the 40s – 50s. Why? Because the global audience grew. Nowadays, ¾ of the revenue comes from outside of America, mainly Europe.
I never thought before about how Hollywood projects global concerns into its most successful films, which often deal with alien invasions and the global destruction.
Kramer hints that the American setting of so many films, which I always reasoned as pure egoism and self-praise of the US, is in fact supposed to represent all of humanity. In other terms, when we see America fight and win in films, America stands less for itself, but for the whole world.
This can be seen in the victory of human kind against aliens (Independence Day), against nature (2012) or itself in form of the Nazis in Indiana Jones. I enjoyed Kramer’s propositions a lot and I think it helped all visitors, not only the many attending Film Studies students, to see Hollywood from a different perspective.

Germaine Greer asked a question at the Cultural eXchanges festival that I have thought about many times and the answer isn’t easy to define. “What is one’s ancestry?”

If you would get a survey - like th
e Australian population– that wants you to enter a one-adjective answer, what would you say?
In the survey, 13% claimed to be Australian, although they are clearly immigrants. Aren’t the Aborigines the real Australians? What’s worse, the cultural value of such hunter-gatherer lifestyle is almost lost due to the invasion of Western civilization. Instead, the Aborigines are treated like dogs to play ball with.

I always consider myself as German, but what does that even mean? Both my parents are Germans and their parents as well. The question is, is that enough? Actually, I can follow back my roots to a small town in Slovakia. Also, I am from East Germany and there is a huge difference to the West side; for example, I feel more bound to the Prussian ancestry.
Germans sometimes have racist thoughts, punishing especially Turkish immigrants for taking “our” jobs and causing the high unemployment. Who has the right to demand jobs for themselves, anyway? They should rather look at their own family tree and think about where their branch sticks out.

he Australian cultural problem was definitely thought-provoking and I hereby give the official permission not to be a racist. Everybody has mixed blood in some way and it is a shame that people forget that.

Second day at the Cultural eXchanges week (2/3/10) at DeMontfort University in Leicester and a controversial African film on the agenda: Badou Boy (1970) by Djibril Diop Mambéty.

Also translated into “Day and Life of a Naughty Boy”, the film is accompanied by a rhythmical African sound and observes the paradoxes of Dakar’s (Senegal) everyday street life.

For me as a Film Studies student, the techniques and hidden implications were extremely interesting. After a long discussion with my friends, who despised the film, I have to admit that the film cannot fulfill the one and only goal: to entertain its audience.
The strange thing about infamous quality crafts: people familiar with the rules of particular artworks acknowledge the use of unique methods more willingly. In Badou Boy, rapid cuts, jumpy camera work and a superimposed sound rather than live recordings confuse most viewers.
I moreove
r tried to analyze the visual and oral signals such as the recurring motif of the plump and rude police man with his bike - that he never rides - and find out what message is conveyed: here a negative critic of Senegal’s post-colonial governing body.
I wonder if we should concentrate primarily on entertaining readers or viewers?
In the end, we all want our work to be read or seen. Therefore, it is important to take the “entertainment-factor” into consideration.
Nevertheless, most accredited pieces only succeeded because someone pushed the boundaries. I liked Mambéty’s film, although mainly for academic reasons. So this event was a good exchange for normal lectures.
See for yourself here!

When curator Michael McMillan confronted his audience on Monday (01/03/10) at Leicester’s Cultural eXchanges event with the idea that the front room reflects the respectability of house owners, I thought that is exactly what should be on the agenda of De Montfort University’s services.

Apparently, the Caribbean immigrants of the 50s and 60s had to sell themselves to the outside world to gain acceptance. From my experience, some students do not even remotely understand what that means.

Front rooms are the only public spaces in the privacy of our homes. Caribbean immigrants used fancy photos, religious paintings such as the last supper or expensive new acquirements to express their morality and decency. Student’s homes that I have seen in Leicester or in various other places around the world do not explicitly earn that respectability.

As a German international student, it is awkward at first to see British streets with identical terraced houses – I can absolutely relate to the impression those immigrants had. At least they made the inside representational of their individuality.

Students, on the other hand, often leave their rooms completely unattended – no matter whether that concerns cleanness, inventory or elegancy. They all resemble each other.

I think a proper introduction in “the front room - my soul, my sin” at Universities could help. For my house next year, I will keep McMillan’s advice in mind: “If you and your front room look good, you will be respected.”
More about-> The Front Room

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