film diplomacy

Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi were apparently talking movies, among other things, at a summit in Kazakhstan on Friday. Xi mentioned that he, like millions of Chinese, had enjoyed the hit Bollywood film Dangal. Xi and Modi went on to discuss boosting cultural cooperation between the two countries. [...] Dangal is still screening across China at more than 7,000 cinemas.Its success follows a string of other Bollywood films that have won over Chinese audiences in recent years, including the previous biggest hit, PK, which took in 118 million yuan.

Dangal’s success story in China — coming as it does, five months after its theatrical release in India and elsewhere — has triggered a stream of breathless box office updates, analytical thinkpieces, and odes aplenty. As it should. [...] Egyptian hawkers referring to Indian women visitors as “Kareena! Aishwarya!” isn't surprising. But to have a teenager from the tiny island country of Timor Leste tell you that Preity Zinta’s Kya Kehna is his favourite film, or have folks in Vietnam express sadness about Balika Vadhu actress Pratyusha Banerjee’s suicide — that is surreal. 

Australia’s Ambassador to China HE Ms Jan Adams AO PSM said, “The Australian Embassy proudly supports Screen Australia, Ausfilm and the Australian screen industry. Our work together delivers public diplomacy and economic diplomacy benefits by highlighting Australian creative excellence, deepening cultural understanding and delivering business opportunities in a fast growing market. 2017 is the Australia China Year of Tourism and marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations. It is a great time to be making co-productions.”

Japan should be patting itself on the back after this soft-power success. In particular, “Your Name.” [...] “Your Name.” wasn’t aimed at a global audience — in fact, those involved with it didn’t even realize how big it would be domestically — but still had a universal theme.

“Bollywood is no longer Hollywood’s poor cousin. Bollywood is no longer just a convenient nomenclature devised by unimaginative folks. Bollywood cinema is one of the strongest global cultural ambassadors of a new India. And India is on its way to becoming a global soft power to reckon with,” Swaminathan contends in the book.

In the meeting, also attended by deputy culture ministers of Iran and Slovokia, Salehi Amiri said agreement to hold cultural week, active participation in art and book fairs, cinematic cooperation and cultural diplomacy are among the provisions of the MoU signed between the two countries.

"Film co-productions can help foster greater cultural exchange and understanding between two different countries, such as China and the United States," Hollywoord film director Julia Pierrepont III said at her home in Sunland, Los Angeles.

During the meeting, the two ministers stressed on all-out expansion of ties in areas like politics, economy, and culture. “We are ready to cooperate in areas like cinema, music, culture, and art,” reassured the Iranian minister. “The areas of extensive cooperation are ready however it may be labeled badly or sabotaged.” Mr. Salehi Amiri boasted the success of Iranian cinema in the world and called for close cooperation for producing joint cinematic works.

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