Toward a Theory of Transnational Film History

트랜스내셔널 영화사 연구를 위한 제안

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  • ABSTRACT

    트랜스내셔널 영화사 연구는 2000년대 이후 기존의 내셔널 시네마 중심의영화사 연구방법론의 한계를 인식한 소수의 학자 군에 의해서 등장했다. 이들은 내셔널 시네마의 프레임을 견지한 채 지난 수 십 년 간 영미학계에서 등장한 연구의 결과물들이 사후판단을 근거로 한 진화론적 내러티브, 문화본질주의, 정전화 된 작가와 걸작중심 서술 등으로 특징 지워 지며 이들 연구는 내셔널 시네마의 틀 속에서 읽힐 수 없는 국제공동제작, 디아스포라/익사일 영화, 국제영화제와 국제기구, 장르, 산업, 그리고 인력들의 이동과 경계를 무시하거나 혹은 억압해 왔다고 주장한다. 이에 일군의 유럽의 젊은 영화학자들은 유럽영화사의‘예술영화’ 중심, 그리고 영국, 프랑스, 독일, 이탈리아를 축으로 한 핵심국가들의 ‘시네마 유럽’ 논의가 지닌 협소한 틀을 거부하며 디아스포라 영화, 이주자 영화, 소수자 영화, 국가 간 합작영화를 영화사적, 이론적으로 접근하며 ‘트랜스내셔널 유럽영화학’ 을 주창했으며 팀 버그펠더, 마크 베츠, 알라스테어 필립스 등의 연구서들이 2005년 이후 본격적으로 등장하기 시작했다. 아시아 영화의 영역에서도 냉전기부터 시작된 아시아영화 네트워크를 치밀하게 추적한 키니아 야우, 포셱 푸, 아베 마르커스 논스, 요시모토 미쓰히로 등의 연구업적들이 짧은 시간 안에 쌓여가면서 그 자체로 독자적인 연구의 장을 형성해나가고 있다. 하지만 여전히 이들 연구는 전체를 포괄할 수 있는 이론적 프레임을 결여하고 있으며 산발적으로 흩어져있는 연구자들의 목소리들만이 간간이 들려오고 있는 것이 현실이다. 따라서본 논문은 지난 10년간의 트랜스내셔널 영화사 연구의 결과물들을 정리하고 이 연구의 세 가지 큰 카테고리를 제안하여 향후 공동/협력연구의 가능성을제시하기 위한 기초적인 이론화 작업을 시도하고자 한다. 우선, 합작영화연구는 오랫동안 내셔널 시네마 연구자들에게 두통거리로 존재해 왔었지만 오히려 같은 이유로 트랜스내셔널 영화사 연구의 ‘실험실’ 로서 작용한다. 둘째로 디아스포라/익사일 영화와 마이클 커틴이 주장한 ‘미디어 캐피탈’ 개념은 특히 아시아 영화연구에 있어서 새로운 장을 열어줄 것으로 기대된다. 아프리카와 중동의 이주자들이 생산해 내는 트랜스내셔널 영화에 주목하는 유럽 영화학계와는 달리 아시아는 식민기획과 내전들, 그리고 미국 중심으로 재편된 새로운 지역질서로 인해 발생한 망명, 이주, 이민을 통한 영화적 혼종성이 두드러지며 이를 역사적으로 재조명하는 작업들은 아직 기초연구조차 이루어지지 않았다 해도 과언이 아닐 것이다. 마지막으로 국제조직과 영화제들이 지역에 작용한 영향을 종합적으로 분석하는 연구가 트랜스내셔널 영화사의 중요한 한 축으로 작용할 것이다. 물론 트랜스내셔널 영화사는 내셔널 시네마영화사학을 대체할 새로운 개념이 아니며 오히려 상호 보완적으로 연구가 이루어질 때 더욱 그 중요성이 커지게 된다. 따라서 본 논문은 트랜스내셔널영화사 서술을 시도하고자 하는 새로운 연구자들과 성과를 공유하고 향후 공동연구를 할 수 있는 출발점으로서 자리하고자 한다.


  • KEYWORD

    트랜스내셔널 영화 , 트랜스내셔널 영화사 , 내셔널 시네마 , 국제공동제작 , 디아스포라 영화 , 미디어 캐피탈 , 국제영화제

  • 1. Introduction

    What is transnational film history? At one level, the term denotes a history of transnational cinema which designates histories of exilic, diasporas, interstitial, and intercultural cinema.2) Indeed, the concept of transnational cinema has been widely circulated since the late 1990s, posited itself in the pantheon of ‘catch-all’ terms like globalization, and rapidly worn out as an academic cliché that almost every single new publication, whether the study engages with the concept or not, contains ‘transnational’ in its title. However, like globalization, film studies and the discourse of the transnational has neither been rigorously theorized nor appropriately defined until very recently. In the first collective effort of this kind, Transnational Cinema: the Film Reader, Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden claim that the pre-dominant definition, “the global forces that link people or institutions across nations,” is not necessarily a new phenomenon. Instead, according to the authors, what is new are “the conditions of financing, production, distribution and reception of cinema today.”3) The authors are referring to Hollywood as their central foci, and they argue that the rapidly transforming Hollywood film industry epitomizes the concept of transnationalism. Although the key role in the U.S. cultural imperialism cannot be ignored, the logical impossibility of maintaining a rigid dichotomy between Hollywood cinema and its ‘others’ also needs to be recognized. The cultural hybridization of Hollywood directors in recent years, and the aftermath of Asian filmmakers and world-wide actors problematize the predominant dichotomy of ‘Hollywood’ as the entertainment and ‘foreign film’ as ‘art-house circuit’ films since increasing number of ‘foreign’ popular films have attained popular success at the U.S. box office. Although Ezra and Rowden attempted to fulfill the difficult mission, defining transnational cinema, their constricted definition required further considerations

    As a response, several academic activities, including conferences, journals, and single-volume monographs and anthologies, emerged in recent years. Above all, the launch of a new journal, which is exclusively dedicated to the study of the subject, Transnational Cinemas, introduced its first issue in 2010. In this inaugural collective attempt, Song Hwee Lim and Will Higbee contributed a thoroughly comprehensive and inspiring article, which maps out the current literatures of the subject, and ambitiously propose their new and definitive methodology, namely ‘critical transnationalism’ in film studies. They delineate that the emergence of transnational cinema scholarships in film studies attributed to “a wider dissatisfaction expressed by scholars working across the humanities with the paradigm of the national as a means of understanding production, consumption and representation of cultural identity in an increasingly interconnected, multicultural and polycentric world.”4) Lim and Higbee categorized three main approaches film studies have applied to theorizing the transnational cinema studies that the authors find insufficient to interpret productively the interface between global/local, and national/transnational. The first group sees the national model as ‘limiting,’ as Higson argues, and focuses on questions of production, distribution and exhibition. A second approach discusses the subject as a regional phenomenon “by examining film cultures/ national cinemas which invest in a shared cultural heritage and/or geopolitical boundary.”5) Sheldon Lu’s Transnational Chinese Cinemas and a series of works by Tim Bergfelder and other European film scholars, such as Mark Betz, Sarah Street, Sue Harris, and Alastair Phillips belong to this category.6) Finally, transnational cinema studies has strongly been associated with the study of diasporic, exilic and postcolonial cinemas. Having been influenced or collaborated with such cultural studies, sociology, and postcolonial studies scholars, this type of transnational cinema scholars, Lim and Higbee argue, focus on “exile, diasporic or postcolonial filmmakers working within the West and are keenly aware of power relations between center/margin, insider/outsider, as well as the continual negotiation between the global and local that often extends beyond the host/home binary in transnational or diasporic cinema.”7)

    As transnational cinema studies has now entered a new vista, transnational film history begins from a certain group of film scholars’ collective discontents that the previous accounts of the dominant national cinema historiography-its post hoc evolutionary narrative, cultural essentialism, one-sided negative consequences of the state-interventions, and authors/ masterpieces-centered descriptions-have failed to concede, or even suppressed, various transnational actors and agents that do not appropriately fit into the pantheon of national cinema. Cinematic coproductions, inter-state organizations, diasporas/exiles, and migrant film workers, non-nation based film festivals, cinematic movements, events, and people that naturally transcend the boundary of the nation-state, technological developments in the regional scale, cold war cultural policy and its impact on film culture and industry, regionally collaborated independent/avant-garde films/filmmakers, and many more subjects are left untold. Moreover, such aspects have been neglected, dismissed, and only briefly discussed in myriad national cinema histories. Therefore, in this position essay, I will bring the forgotten subjects back to the history through the perspective of the transnational film history. However, as a theory, it should be properly defined, categorized, and practiced. If this is the study of the ways in which past (or present) film cultures and industries have been shaped by the entente, negotiations, and multilateral relationships that have transcended the borders of nation states, the previous scholarships on world cinema, global cinema, and, more closely, comparative film history are not necessarily bounded in the single nation-state as well, and, moreover, in fact they are encouraging to widen the scope of national cinema studies.8) After that, how can my notion of the transnational film history distinguish from other kinds of concepts, which also scrutinize cinemas beyond their national boundaries? I argue that the transnational film history stands out from other methods of writing film history above, and I will bring in the history discipline’s debates on the transnational history, which was ignited in the early 1990s to expound and justify the value of transnational film history. Transnational film history is indeed neither a fixed nor rigid notion but rather a flexible and inclusive one. I argue that transnational film history does not throw the previous model, national cinema, away. Instead, in this essay, I propose to comprehend Transnational film history as a mutually beneficial and therefore constructive concept.

    1)The idea of ‘laboratory’ came from a recent anthology on Ukrainian Historiography. See Georgiy Kasianov and Phillip Ther, eds. A Laboratory of Transnational History: Ukraine and Recent Ukranian Historiography, Budapest and New York: CEU Press, 2009.  2)If we use the definitions of media economics, communication, and film industry studies, then this history easily merges to the history or historical condition of Hollywood’s global domination, i.e. the history of cinematic globalization from the beginning to the current state.  3)Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden, eds. Transnational Cinema: The Film Reader, London and New York: BFI Publishing, 2006, p. 1.  4)Will Higbee and Song Hwee Lim, “Concepts of Transnational Cinema: Towards a Critical Transnationalism in Film Studies,” Transnational Cinemas, No. 1, Vol. 1, 2010, p. 8.  5)Lim and Higbee, Ibid, p. 9.  6)Tim Bergfelder argues that European cinema had been portrayed and researched as discrete national cinemas which had their own national culture and specificities. In addition, as a seeming ‘protector’ of art cinema, European cinema has always been portrayed as a history of art films and filmmakers. However, since the 1990s, the notion of art cinema as the master trope of European cinema has been gradually eroding. Bergfelder sees that European cinema, from its inception, has been transnational, and diasporas and migrated filmmakers and films in fact constructed the imagined concept of European cinema, therefore, it is time to transform to, Bergfelder argues, the study of “transnational European film history.” See Tim Bergfelder, “National, Transnational or Supranational Cinema? Rethinking European Film Studies,” Media, Culture and Society, No. 27, Vol. 3, 2005, pp. 320-21.  7)Lim and Higbee, op. cit., pp. 9-10. Hamid Naficy is arguably the most representative figure in this category. In his seminal study An Accented Cinema, Naficy proposed a new analytical term ‘accented cinema’ which is a concept that is concerned with the films that postcolonial, Third World filmmakers have made in their Western sojourn since the 1960s, and there are three types of films that constitute it: exilic, diasporic, and ethnic. Naficy and his theory is, however, in the end inadequate to represent the concept of transnational cinema since postcolonial, interstitial, intercultural, exilic, and diasporic all can be subsumed to the wider term transnational cinema, and are not necessarily limited to their uses. Hamid Naficy, An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001, pp. 4-11.  8)for more about comparative film studies, see Yingjin Zhang’s new study on the subject. Yingjin Zhang, “Space of Scholarship: Trans/National and Comparative Studies,” Cinema, Space, and Polylocality in a Globalizing China, Manoa: University of Hawaii Press, 2010, pp. 16-41.

    2. Transnational Film History: Theory and Practice

    Since Ian Tyrrell’s paradigm-shift article “American Exceptionalism in an Age of International History” was first published in American Historical Review (AHR) in 1991, the history discipline in the US has been debating the new concept of transnational history. While explicitly criticizing the legacies of nationalism and national exceptionalism in the study of American history, Tyrrell asserts that the national perspectives must be “historicized and relativized by developing a new historiographical project organized in terms of a simultaneous consideration of differing geographical scales-the local, the national, and the transnational-in American historical thought.”9) Having been influenced by French Annales school of social history and World-system practitioners, particularly Fernand Braudell and Immanuel Wallerstein, Tyrrell proposes several complementary ways to construct transnational history that are regional analysis, environmental history, and the study of organizations, movements, and ideologies. In response to Tyrrell, David Thelen, one of the most respected historians in the field, published an equally important piece, and Thelen wrote that he and other colleagues of transnational history “wanted to explore how people and ideas and institutions and cultures moved above, below, through, and around, as well as within, the nation-state, to investigate how well national borders contained or explained how people experienced history,” and he continues, “to make our project recognizable to others we tried to find a single term to encompass the many questions…we finally settled on transnational (italics in original)”10) Thus, in the field of American history, by the new millennium, transnational history has been settled in the rather rigid discipline but it now to some extent has a consent definition which implies, according to Patricia Seed, “a comparison between the contemporary movement of groups, goods, technology, or people across national borders and the transit of similar or related objects or people in an earlier time.”11) Therefore, its central concerns are “movements, flows, and circulation.”12) Pertaining to the practice of transnational history, Erik Van Der Vleuten, a historian of science and technology, suggests three areas of transnational history: the study of cross-border flows, the historical role of international non-governmental organizations, and the de-centering the nation-state from its position as the principle organizing category for scholarly inquiry, and spotlights other scales of lived history.13)

    However, if transnational history is solely defined as the study of movements and forces that “cut across national boundaries,”14) as an international history practitioner Akira Iriye states, and applied the designation to this study, transnational film history should be defined as the history of film movements, technology, organizations, people, and industries that are not bounded in a single nation-state. Yet it should not employ a comparative history method, coined by Marc Bloch in 1925 (translated into English in 1953), which compares two or three nation-states. Comparative history is essentially “a tool for dealing with problems of explanation.”15) What does it mean if a historian “compares”? Bloch writes, “He (the historian) selects two or more phenomena which appear at first sight to be analogous and which occur in one or more social milieus. He finds out how these phenomena resemble or differ from one another, traces their evolution, and, as far as possible, explains the similarities and differences.”16) The most obvious pitfalls of the method is, however, the tendency to compare whole countries and to take for granted the primacy of the national unit of analysis, therefore, the method is in the end reifying national exceptionalism.17) Moreover, as Bloch himself acknowledges, comparative history as a method is exceedingly onerous to conduct, and comparisons are rich only when “they are based upon factual studies which are detailed, critical, and well-documented,”18) and therefore the method can only be achieved by a small group of historians, like Bloch and other Annales school proteges. Hence, if we bring the comparative history method in the field of film history, by creating a new field ‘comparative film history,’ the ending products will not be different from the previous national cinema history model since, by comparing with and contrasting to the ‘other’ national cinema, he or she will find and reinforce the particularities and exceptional qualities of their national cinemas. Transnational film history is, considering the pitfalls of comparative history, the most appropriate and effective method that is, borrowing from Thelen, a single term to encompass the many questions, if not a ‘catch-for-all’ method. Although it entails certain degrees of ambiguities, transnational film history is an exceptionally functional concept, and it, from its nature, requires a collaborative scholarship.

    Transnational film history is, if I may repeat, not an exclusive but rather an inclusive and resilient concept. I do not claim that the national cinema is an obsolete and therefore vanishing model. It is still there and functions its own right. However, as many of us-film historians-have agreed, the previous national cinema model is particularly vulnerable to and suspicious of boundary-crossing ideas, institutions, and people. Transnational film history, instead, is justly powerful when its research tasks are associated with the above subjects. And, indeed, some historians in the field of European cinema and Asian cinema have already done significant studies that are fairly appropriate for my definition of transnational film history. Their studies are varied. But if I may categorize them, the previous studies that fit well under the method are manifold: the historical study of cinematic coproduction, exile, diasporas, and migrant film workers and their inter-cultural influences, and non-governmental organizations and the role and impact of the international film festivals. To provide more concrete and comprehensible ideas of transnational film history, therefore, I will demonstrate three instances of recent scholarly works done by those new film historians. First, in the following section, cinematic coproduction studies will be discussed.

       1) Cinematic Coproduction: A Laboratory of Transnational Film History19)

    Cinematic coproduction is, indeed, a notoriously dubious entity to most nation-based film historians. Susan Hayward, while discussing France-Italy co-productions during the 1950s and 1960s, refers to co-productions as a ‘murky area’ and a ‘thorny problem,’20) and in a similar vein, Roy Armes denounces the co-production films as being “designed for an anonymous international audience and with pretensions which were commercial rather than artistic.”21) Why has cinematic co-production constantly been considered to be a “problem”? British film scholar Mark Betz’s account many be a guide to solving the puzzle. He argues that “co-productions are a problem for national cinema, and that problem is connected with Americanization and cultural imperialism.”22) Since for most Euro-American film scholars, popular cinema has been a synonym for Hollywood cinema, and to protect and distinguish Europe’s ‘highbrow’ culture from Hollywood’s ‘lowbrow’ mass entertainment, European art films, for them, had to be studied in terms of aesthetics and national-cultural elements, not economics. Thus, popularity signifies a commercial betrayal of national tradition, and such genre films as spaghetti westerns, horror, and sex films in Italy, and ‘Tradition of Quality’ in France were despised and often ignored by most scholars in European cinema (Nowell-Smith and Ricci, 1998; Bergfelder, 2005 and 2006; Betz, 2001; Jackel, 2003, Elsaesser, 2006).

    As such, historicizing the cinematic coproduction has not produced enough eminent researches yet, and it is still in its infant phase. Anne Jackel, a UK-based cine-economist, has been constantly exploring this issue, and her more recent book The European Film Industries has expanded the scope and contributed to this field in great ways. Jackel traces an industrial history of European co-production. She asserts that co-productions between France and Italy during the 1950s and 1960s had greatly contributed to the resuscitation of the two industries, and argues that France-Italy co-production films were far less French-centered and more European, less conservative and more generous than French films. Jackel points out that many European art films were also co-productions.23) However, these films were hardly ever examined as co-productions. The name of the auteur transcends the discourse as Betz argued. In terms of French film history, the period prior to nouvelle vague was often regarded as a pro tem era. On the other hand, the study of co-production and popular cinema proves that the period (1950s) was not one of inert transition but one of intense cultural activity at a time of remarkable international economic and ideological changes. Similar to or having influenced by Jackel’s studies, Marc Silverman scrutinizes the 1950s’ East Germany and French coproduction films24) and Tamara L. Falicov, an Argentinian film historian, reconstructs the practice of Roger Corman-Hector Oliviera co-productions during the 1980s.25) Tim Bergfelder has recently added a new and seminal volume International Adventures: German Popular Cinema and European Co-Productions in the 1960s that is envisioning the 1960s German popular genre films and its remarkably linked network with other European film industries, by placing this history, in Bergfelder’s words, “within the wider parameters of European film history,” and he adds that the aim of the book is “to focus specifically on and to write a history of the hitherto under-researched and particular areas of production practices and distribution patterns and particular areas of contemporary reception.”26)

    If we turn our attention to another vista of the atlas, East Asia, cinematic coproduction is still a rarely studied, if not utterly ignored, subject except for a few studies done mostly by Hong Kong film historians (Yau 2000; Fu and Desser 2001; Law and Bren 2005; Fu 2008). Kinnia Yau Shuk-ting, a Hong Kong-based film historian, is, however, by far the only scholar who has been studying the issue extensively. Her imposingly researched Japanese and Hong Kong Film Industries: Understanding the Origins of East Asian Film Networks, though, fell into the trap of comparative history and failed to circumvent the danger of the method’s defect by concluding the early Japan-Hong Kong collaborations, in the end, benefitted the Hong Kong film industry, not vice-versa, and the tradition generated the unique aesthetic style of Hong Kong cinema.27) Apart from the previously mentioned hazard, Yau’s comparative film history entails copious epistemological problems since her contention of the early Asian film network, initiated by Japan during its imperial adventure and immediate postwar period, was designed to “counteract the powerful network set up by the American film industry,” therefore, by using the highly problematic and inappropriate phrase ‘friendship’ between Japan, Hong Kong, and Manchuria in her text, she continuously blurs such pivotal issues as colonial expansionism and its exploitational nature.28) In view of this, film historians of Korea, Japan, and Chinas should cooperate to better understand the history and construct the field of transnational film history. As such, cinematic coproduction in Asia needs more research, and, as I illustrated above, cinematic coproduction is a ‘laboratory’ of transnational film history. The subject lays over some of the most debatable, both spatial-temporal and historical, periods in twentieth-century Asia: the colonial period’s coproduction between colonizer (Japan) and colonized (Korea, Taiwan, China, and Manchuria), the American Occupation period’s collaboration with the ‘new’ colonizer’s cultural agents, and the 1960s’ inter-regional, and transregional networks between Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and even India.29) Those subjects are still in a critical and historical void, and they are prevalent enough to dismantle the notion of national cinema historiography in Asia when directed collaboratively.

       2) Exile, Diasporas, and ‘Media Capital’

    Exiled, diasporic, and migrant film workers, including directors, cinematographers, and performers, have been rarely studied especially for those newly emerged national cinema histories. In European cinema studies, for the last few years, these ‘cultural travelers’ who did not necessarily work in Hollywood after their departures but in other parts of Europe, particularly London and Paris, have been celebrated, and wielded a significant number of academic outcomes. Jean Christopher Horak, in 1993, expressed the difficulties histories of cinema have had in situating émigré activities within national borders. He writes:

    Horak claims to take account of emigre filmmakers and their films into the boundary of German national cinema, and his assertion has its own value because, by the time he was writing the piece, German film historians had attempted to keep emigre film workers out of its national frame. However, emigre, exiled, and diaspora film workers are crucially important actors in transnational film history and should not be bounded in or brought back to the national cinema. Instead, I suggest shifting the frame toward transnational ground where films, people, movements, collaborations, and spaces are not restricted and caged in the nation-state. Therefore, we can examine how film directors and cinematographers “absorbed contemporary ideas and practices in the visual and decorative arts, and in architecture and urban design, and reworked and disseminated these recurring visions, themes, styles and motifs to a wider public”31) during the interwar period Europe, and the role of the cities in the period’s Europe, i.e. Berlin, London, and Paris where “definitions of the era’s cinematic production became determined”32) as Alastair Phillips traced the emigre filmmakers in Paris in City of Darkness, City of Light. Having considered the importance of cities, Michael Curtin provides, in this regard, a greatly useful concept he aptly named ‘media capital’ that are “sites of mediation, location where complex forces and flows interact.”33) Curtin examines cities like Bombay, Cairo, and Hong Kong which have long been centers for the finance, production, and distribution of films and television programs.34) Instead of accepting media imperialism school’s thesis that, following Herbert Schiller’s classic definition, “under the aegis of world system,” there is only “a one-directional flow of information from core to periphery,” and it represents “the reality of power,”35) Curtin’s polycentric project entails more room to discuss transnational factors of global media environment, and, for transnational film history practitioners, the concept of media capital will help to historicize these centers of popular media products by avoiding the danger of ethnographic studies of how cinemas of each nation circulate as various formats in their localities, regions, and major metropolitan cities in America. In view of this, Poshek Fu’s anthology China Forever: The Shaw Brothers and Diasporic Cinema is not only a timely addition to the film history literature but the representative work that transnational film history has sought after. As the bold title connotes, Fu argues that, in the 1960s, the Shaw Brothers created a “transnational network that linked all Chinese outside of post-revolutionary China into a cultural community in which images of a mythical China reigned.”36) With calling the Shaw Brothers a ‘diasporic cinema,’ we can approach the subject from multiple angles, perspectives, and epistemological considerations. The pivotal issue of the national, postwar diasporas in Asia, cinematic coproductions, film festivals, and transnational migrant cultural workers are all discussed in China Forever. Transnational film history practitioners, accordingly, should cross over their comfortable scholarly zones and co-operate with each other to draw many new atlases of transnational film history.

       3) Non-Governmental Organizations, Inter-State Institutions, and Film Festivals

    Finally, and no less significant than the previous factors, non-governmental film organizations, institutions, and international film festivals have not been historicized seriously as well. Indeed, nation-centered film history has no place to discuss such issues. ECAFE (Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East), UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations), APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), and, more recently, AFIN (Asian Film Industry Network), based in Korea, should be rigorously studied in terms of their roles to generate regional funds for education, training, and grants for young film directors that are never less important than the single nation-state’s support and regulation for domestic film industry but have hardly been studied thus far. Those studies should be incorporated with postwar America’s hegemony over Asia and Europe, and the 1950s and 1960s cold war cultural policy that had influenced every sensorial aspect of semi-colonized, periphery nation-states’ popular cultures. For instance, international film festivals have been the battlefield of regional power politics and international relations, and they are directly related to the local governments’ cultural economies including tourisms and leisure, local media industries, and even job creations. George Yudice’s term ‘expediency of culture’ is, in this regard, the right tool to comprehend the current film festival economy.37) Yudice argues that “art has completely folded into an expanded conception of culture that can solve problems, including job creation... culture is no longer experienced, valued, or understood as transcendent.”38) Culture now performs a function that enhances education, reduces racial prejudice, and brings cultural tourism as well as creates jobs and even makes a profit which completely transformed to what Yudice calls ‘cultural economy’ or ‘cultural capitalism’ as Jeremy Rifkin terms.

    As a matter of fact, we are witnessing the burgeoning of film festivals studies in the cinema studies discipline. University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, has been publishing its annual Film Festival Yearbook that contains cutting-edge new articles on film festivals since 200939), and arguably the first historical study of this kind, Marijke de Valck’s Film Festivals: from European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia came out just a few years ago. Along with Valck, Elsaesser and Julian Stringer argue that the annual international film festival is a very European phenomenon, and the history of the international film festival, prior to the 1970s, can be condensed into three European film festivals, Venice, Cannes, and Berlin, if we exclude the relative latecomer Moscow, which was initiated in 1959. Their vulnerable Euro-centric perspectives, however, ignore ‘the other’ film festivals in other parts of the globe indeed. In his widely circulated article, Elsaesser brought in Pusan, the main film festival in Korea, as a clear example of how the ‘phenomenon’ disseminated to Asia during the 1990s.40) In line with this, Dudley Andrew argued comparable ideas in his public presentation at the tenth anniversary Pusan International Film Festival in 2005.41) What Valck, Elsaesser, and Andrew, and their ‘wave’ models, failed to notice is, however, the very presence of the Asian Film Festival which initiated in 1954, only three years after the inception of the Berlin film festival, and subsequent flows of film festivals within the region, were not necessarily influenced by the European festivals models, not to mention the Communist block’s answer to the Asian Film Festival that was inaugurated by People’s Republic of China and North Korea during the late 1950s.42) Yet, the Asian Film Festival and other postwar regional film festivals in the non-Western world have not been properly historicized. There is a single rationale behind this paucity of scholarships. The Asian Film Festival and other equally important festivals in Asia during the Cold War phase were not bounded in a single nation. They were mostly regionally constructed entities, and were closely tied to non-governmental organizations or cultural policies of postwar hegemonic supremacy of Washington. Therefore, upon the tradition of national cinema historiography, those early film festivals found no place to fit in although their tremendous impacts over each national film industry throughout the period as I will discuss in chapter three. Contemporary film festivals in Asia, therefore, should be discussed with their predecessors. This is why transnational film history is important.

    9)Ian Tyrrell, “American Exceptionalism in an Age of International History,” American Historical Review No. 96, Vol. 4, 1991, p. 1033.  10)David Thelen, “The Nation and Beyond: Transnational Perspectives on United States History,” The Journal of American History No. 86, Vol. 3, December 1999, p. 967.  11)“AHR Conversation: On Transnational History,” American Historical Review No. 111, Vol. 5, December 2006, p. 1443.  12)Akira Iriye, “Transnational History,” Contemporary European History, No. 13, Vol. 2, 2004, p. 213.  13)Erik Van Der Vleuten, “Toward a Transnational History of Technology,” Technology and Culture, No. 49, Vol. 4, October 2008, pp. 978-82.  14)Iriye, op. cit., pp. 213-14.  15)William H. Sewell, jr., “Marc Block and the Logic of Comparative History,” History and Theory, No. 6, Vol. 2, 1967, p. 208.  16)Marc Bloch, “Toward a Comparative History of European Societies,” Enterprise and Secular Change: Reading in Economic History, ed. Frederic C. Lane, Illinois: Richard D. Irwin, 1953, p. 496.  17)Tyrrell, op. cit., p. 1035.  18)Bloch, op. cit., p, 518.  19)The idea of ‘laboratory’ came from a recent anthology on Ukrainian Historiography. See Georgiy Kasianov and Phillip Ther, eds. A Laboratory of Transnational History: Ukraine and Recent Ukranian Historiography, Budapest and New York: CEU Press, 2009.  20)Susan Hayward, French National Cinema, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993, p. 9.  21)Roy Armes. French Cinema, New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 148.  22)Mark Betz, “The Name Above the (Sub)Title: Internationalism, Coproduction, and Polyglot European Art Cinema,” Camera Obscura No. 46, 2001, p. 15.  23)Anne Jackel, “Dual Nationality Film Productions in Europe after 1945,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, No. 23, Vol. 3, 2003, pp. 231-43. For more studies related to this issue, see Anne Jackel, European Film Industries, London and New York: British Film Institute, 2003; Mark Betz, Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2009; Peter Lev, Euro-American Cinema, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1993.  24)Marc Silverman, “Learning from the Enemy: DEFA-French Co-Productions of the 1950s,” Film History: An International Journal, No. 18, Vol. 1, 2006, pp. 21-45  25)Tamala L. Falicov, “U.S.-Argentine Co-productions, 1982-1990: Roger Corman, Aries Productions, “Sclockbuster” Movies, and the International Market,” Film and History, No. 34, Vol. 1, 2004, pp. 31-38. For her more recent work, see Tamala L. Falicov, The Cinematic Tango: Contemporary Argentine Film, London: Wallflower Press, 2007.  26)Tim Bergfelder, International Adventures: German Popular Cinema and European Co-Productions in the 1960s, New York and Oxford: Berghan Books, 2005.  27)Kinnia Yau Shuk-ting, Japanese and Hong Kong Film Industries: Understanding the Origins of East Asian Film Networks, London and New York: Routledge, 2010.  28)Kinnia Yau Shuk-ting, “The Early Development of East Asian Cinema in a Regional Context,” Asian Studies Review, No. 33, Vol. 2, June 2009, pp. 161-173.  29)Hong Kong action cinema’s influence over Indian cinema was researched by a group of Indian film historians. See S. V. Srinivas, “Hong Kong Action Film and the Career of the Telugu Mass Hero,” and Valentina Vitali, “Hong Kong, Hollywood, Bombay: On the Function of ‘Martial Art’ in the Hindi Action Cinema,” in Hong Kong Connections: Transnational Imagination in Action Cinema, eds. Meaghan Morris, Siu Leung Li, and Stephen Chan Ching-kiu. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005, pp. 111-124, and 125-150.  30)Jean-Christopher Horak, “Exilfilm, 1933-1945,” cited in Tim Bergfelder, “Introduction,” Destination London: German-speaking Emigres and British Cinema, 1925-1950, ed. Tim Bergfelder, London: Berghan Books, 2008, p. 9.  31)Tim Bergfelder, Sue Harris, and Sarah Street, Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007, p. 28.  32)Alastair Phillips, City of Darkness, City of Light: Emigre Filmmakers in Paris, 1929-1939, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2004, p. 16.  33)Michael Curtin, “Media Capital: Toward the Study of Spatial Flows,” International Journal of Cultural Studies, No. 6, Vol. 2, 2003, p. 203.  34)Curtin, ibid, p. 205.  35)Herbert I. Schiller, Communication and Cultural Domination, New York: International Arts and Sciences Press, inc., 1976, pp. 5-6.  36)Poshek Fu, “The Shaw Brothers Diasporic Cinema,” in China Forever: The Shaw Brothers and Diasporic Cinema, ed. Poshek Fu, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2008, p. 15.  37)See Sue Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, Clevdon, UK: Channel View Publications, 2005.  38)George Yudice, The Expediency of Culture: Uses of Culture in the Global Era, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2003, p. 14.  39)See for example, Dina Iordanova and Regan Rhyne, eds. Film Festival Yearbook 1: The Festival Circuit, St. Andrews University press, 2009; Dina Iordanova and Ruby Cheung, eds. Film Festival Yearbook 2: Film Festivals and Imagined Communities, St. Andrews University Press, 2010; Dina Iordanova and Ruby Cheung, eds. Film Festival Yearbook 3: Film Festivals and East Asia, St Andrews: St Andrews University Press, 2011. Another important anthology is Richard Porton, ed. Dekalog 3: On Film Festivals, London and New York: Wallflower Press, 2009.  40)Thomas Elsaesser, “Film Festival Networks: The New Topographies of Cinema in Europe,” in European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005, pp. 89-90.  41)Dudley Andrew, “Waves of New Waves and the International Film Festival,” ASIA/CINEMA/NETWORK: Industry, Technology, and Film Culture, the Tenth Busan International Film Festival Symposium Programme Booklet, Busan: Korea, 2005, p. 256.  42)For more about the Asian Film Festival, see Sangjoon Lee, “The Emergence of the Asian Film Festival: Postwar Asian Film Industry and Japan‘s Reentrance in the Regional Market in the 1950s,” in Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema, ed. Miyao Daisuke, Oxford and London: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2012; Sangjoon Lee, “It’s ‘Oscar’ Time in Asia!: The Rise and Demise of the Asia-Pacific Film Festival, 1954-1972,” Coming Soon to a Festival Near You: Programming Film Festivals, ed. Jeffrey Ruoff, St. Andrews: St. Andrews University Press, forthcoming 2012.

    3. Conclusion: Rescuing Film History from the Nation

    Borrowing from Prasanjit Duara, we need to ‘rescue’ film history from the nation. Duara, a historian of modern China, provokes the modern History and its close tie to the nation-state that are fundamentally inseparable. Nations, he writes, “emerge as the subject of History just as History emerges as the ground, the mode of being, of the nation.” In the end, nations are not “born full-brown out of nothing.”43) Most History projects of modern capitalist nation-states, what he termed “the production of national histories,” glorify the ancient or eternal character of the nation, i.e. the myth of the origin, and often ended to project modern future, by overcoming a “dark middle age of disunity and foreign contamination.”44) Coupled with this, Eric Cazdyn argues that the writing of any national film history is “inextricably tied to the larger history of the nation itself” and, as a Japanese film historian, almost every history of Japanese cinema has used “the history of the nation to chart its course.”45) In the end, national cinema historiography is a by-product of the history of the nation. National cinema historiography no longer solves the problem despite its effectiveness in college educations. We use the textbooks although we all acknowledge the false universe of them. Though I do not negate the value of college education, it needs to be done without a doubt, and film history, as an academic discipline, should reach out beyond this purpose.

    In this study, consequently, I suggested a new sub-field of cinema studies-transnational film history. Certainly, transnational film history is not new at all inasmuch as transnational cinema studies itself has its own lineage for at least a decade, but it has not, if I am not completely wrong, been consistently and rigorously defined and/or theorized. As I repeatedly claimed, transnational film history is an open category. Any historical research that is not bounded in a single nation-state can claim its transnational quality of study. For the last few years, we have witnessed the burgeoning of film histories that have significantly turned their attentions toward the transnational. Transnational film history is indeed very difficult to achieve. Any transnational film history practitioner should perform considerable sites-specific researches that are not limited to a single nation-state. Therefore, although he/she is not required to speak multiple languages, to be a transnational film historian, one should acquire substantial knowledge on two or more national cinemas as a prerequisite quality. Transnational film history is not the ultimate solution, nor a catch-for-all term. However, it will function as an alternative model to the previous national-centered film historiography. As a mutually-beneficial method, transnational film history is not yet fully defined, and it needs further refinements and collaborations with fellow film historians. Under the multiway authorship, the ‘thorny’ national cinema model will finally overcome at stake many problems, I believe.

    43)Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1995, p. 27. By tracing Chinese historians engagement with the enlightenment mode of writing a national history in the early twentieth century, Duara claims that the modern History (capital ‘H’ to distinguish history from enlightenment History) emerged under the spiritual logic of Hegel and the late nineteenth century’s social Darwinism that justified the imperial business of the superior race (European) and solicited the enlightenment history which is the record of progress of the superior races. Under this logic, the stagnant and backward races, Chinese in this context, have no right to have history and nationality.  44)Prasenjit Duara, “The Global and Regional Constitution of Nations: The View from East Asia,” Nations and Nationalism, No. 14, Vol. 2, 2008, p. 332.  45)Eric Cazdyn, The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan, Durham: Duke University Press, 2002, p. 52.

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