Where East-meets-West meets Asianization: aesthetics, regionality and Frank Capra's Lost Horizon

Craven, Allison (2018) Where East-meets-West meets Asianization: aesthetics, regionality and Frank Capra's Lost Horizon. Asian Cinema, 29 (2). pp. 175-187.

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Abstract

As a term of description, 'Asianization' characterizes the impact of aesthetic and narrative influences from Asian cinemas on co-produced or American films since the late twentieth century. The 'flexible citizenship' of filmmakers and aesthetic traditions stemming from East Asian cinemas are seen to have transformed the global action cinema, in particular. Analyses of the orientalism of self/other relations inscribed in Asianized western films permeate reception, in spite of the problematic nature of the paradigms of Orient and orientalism. This article problematizes Asianization by referring to the Asian masquerades in Hollywood cinema in the pre-Second World War era, and the orientalism and 'East meets West' mythos that underpins a number of these films. The main case study, Lost Horizon, a blockbuster produced by Columbia Pictures in 1937 and directed by the Italian American filmmaker, Frank Capra, is a prototype imagining of 'Asia'. It is a simulacra instilled through the trappings of costume, set, acted masquerade and elliptic narrative geographies, and facilitated by the racial proscriptions of the Motion Picture Association of America (Hays) Code of the era. The aesthetic discourse is marked, I argue, by duality whereby Asia is presented as both threat and paradise, a duality that resonates, if disparately, in the aesthetics of contemporary and twentieth-century Asianized films.

Item ID: 56485
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2049-6710
Keywords: asianization, orientalism, regionality, aesthetics, Shangri-La, ambivalence, Asian Australian cinema
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 Intellect Ltd Article.
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2018 07:33
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190201 Cinema Studies @ 70%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200212 Screen and Media Culture @ 20%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified @ 10%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 70%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture @ 30%
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