In late August, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, barely two months into his first term, sat down with several of the principals of the Creative Artists Agency at their Century City offices. The meeting was short, lasting a little more than 20 minutes, but that was all Garcetti needed to get his message across. He was there to pitch his plans for a citywide “rebranding” effort and wanted to use Hollywood’s most powerful talent agency as a sounding board for his plans, if not more.
If you’re a film buff, you may have heard of a Korean-made summer blockbuster that, strangely, hasn’t reached American shores quite yet. Starring a line-up of famous Western actors, some critics say Snowpiercer — Korea’s most expensive film ever — represents a potential cultural landmark. Based on a French comic book, it covers a dystopia of post-apocalyptic survivors who, living on a train that travels around the world, rebel against their repressive overlords.
In Beijing, the country’s leadership was recognizing the importance of soft power. Meanwhile in Hollywood, DreamWorks was given the green light to a movie called Kung Fu Panda. I would love to tell you that we did this as part of a very shrewd strategy to gain entrée into China. It wasn’t. We just liked the idea of a film about a panda who wants to do kung fu.
Last night was one big sister act at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.The center’s first female leader, Jane Harman, jokingly referred to Anita McBride, the former chief of staff to Laura Bush, as her “little sister.” McBride is now executive in residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs. Harman is the center’s director, chief executive and president.
Nearly 40 minutes have been chopped from the Hollywood film "Cloud Atlas" for Chinese audiences, deleting both gay and straight love scenes to satisfy local censors despite a movie-going public that increasingly chafes at censorship.
Instead of pure entertainment or mere artistic creations, Hollywood movies function as propaganda supplements, often by providing a binary image of "good Americans" versus the "hostile others" on US's enemy list. With Iran topping that list for the past 33 years, it is hardly surprising that Hollywood has dutifully dished out a growing number of movies that recycle the enemy image of Iran.
"Every country tries to promote its views using 'soft power' and it's not surprising that China would try to do it as its power increases," he said. "Promoting 'soft power,' even with Hollywood's cooperation, is difficult if a country's policies are too far out of step with prevailing global norms.