Over the course of my time in this job I have acquired a reputation as someone who reviews and appreciates lots of foreign films. Of course, at the same time I have occasionally been accused of not understanding these films at all, which is partially true. It's not technically possible for one person to fully absorb and comprehend every facet of every industrialized culture in the world. For one thing, subtitles never accurately translate what's being spoken, and then there are little cultural things, certain behaviors, for example, that may not translate either. Conversely, it's impossible for any one person -- filmmakers included -- to represent a culture. It gets even more complex than that, if you want to boil it down. For example, I could say that I identify with the characters in High Fidelity (2000), but if you consider that I've never been to Chicago, and consider further that the book was originally set in London, then it creates a cultural divide. That movie has levels that will forever be out of my grasp.

You do your best. You keep an open mind. Although, I admit I'm usually disappointed when I see too many Western filmmaking elements slavishly copied in Eastern films (Mongol, The Counterfeiters, etc.); it shows the overwhelming influence of Hollywood on other parts of the world. I'm sure more people in Portugal saw Transformers than saw Manoel de Oliveira or Pedro Costa's latest films.

categories Columns, Cinematical