When Foreign Language Films aren’t Foreign

In the 12th chapter of Robert Marich’s book, Marketing to Moviegoers A Handbook of Strategies and Tactics, discusses the effect of foreign language films in the United States of America. Who watches foreign language films and what effect the genre has on “moviegoers”. He also focuses on the addition of the subtitles on cinema screens compared with just dubbing the whole film. How for children the films are completely translated although this tends not to be the case as most are aimed at an older more educated audience.

The art-house crowd tends to be college educated (or in college) and oriented to high culture. This group gravitates toward esoteric and personal films that are popular on the festival front but that mainstream audiences find too talky and hard to penetrate (Marich 371).

However he later adds that they tend to be aimed at the audience of the country from which the film originates. Adding as well their desire to hold onto their culture while living inside the United States of America.

The exhibition and distribution of US films to the Czech Republic is huge and viewed as foreign language films for the natives. These films dominate cinemas. English speakers don’t see this way always. Similar to foreign language films in the USA they have subtitles or are dubbed into Czech, which happens much more often for children. Younger generations have it easier since English is taught at schools very early on however it presents

Milos Foreman

Milos Foreman

a language barrier for the baby boomers and their parents generations. As a result few people actually really watch or enjoy most Czech films. Though most are low quality the good ones just get missed unless they win an award. In contrast though a good reason for this is communism having dominating the country for 40 years with propaganda. From this excellent directors like Milos Foreman decided to leave emigrate from the Czech Republic to the USA.

Milos Foreman left the Czech Republic in 1968, during the Russian invasion, and is now a citizen of the USA. For the Czech Republic he is a very important person, as well as being a huge influence on young directors today. In contrast a different Czech director Jan Sverak stayed in the CZ under communist rule. After Foreman immigrated from the CZ to the USA most of his films were made in English. Probably his most famous, Amadeus, won 40 awards from 1984 to 1985. With a budget of $18 million. This in contrast to Jan Sverak with his film Kolya, 1996, with a budget of 28 million Czech crowns roughly $1 million and Tmavo Modry Svet (Dark Blue World) in 2001, budgeted at $8 million. Not till the fall of communism did his films start to be filmed in Czech again. All of his films so far are in Czech.

Imagine just for a second if, overnight, 90% of the films you went to see at your local cinema were dominated by Chinese films. First you would probably want USA films back. Second you would feel lost in the Chinese culture. Now you are close to the Czech Republic’s and other European countries situation. It’s sad to see part of the local culture get chipped away, yes the entertainment value is there and nice, but that’s all it is. The influence film has on identity slowly is altering the rest of the countries culture, for example Christmas traditions, language and environment.

Marich, Robert. Marketing to Moviegoers A Handbook of Strategies and Tactics Third Edition. Southern Illinois Univeristy Press/Carbon Dale and Edwardsville, 2013. Print.

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