Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Will this offend someone? Probably.

Via Al Jazeera, a new Turkish action movie, 'Valley of the Wolves: Palestine' that is almost guaranteed to offend, not the least since it's about a Turkish Commando that must shoot his way out of Israel as part of a mission of vengeance, in retaliation for the Israeli raid on the Gaza Flotilla. But, wow - talk about an audacious plot.

On the other hand, even in the brief clips we see of the movie we can note a whole host of tropes, characters, and plot devices present in American action movies. In fact, I bet that if this movie was watched side by side with something along the lines of 'Black Hawk Down,' the similarities would be jarring. It shouldn't be a surprise or even any sort of revelation that American action cinema plays a role in influencing the cinema of other countries.

Rather, what's notable would be a comparison of our reaction to this movie, in which an ally is portrayed as evil, immoral, and barbaric, and our reaction to 'Black Hawk Down,' in which the enemy is portrayed as evil, immoral, and barbaric. Of course, we'll probably have a negative reaction towards 'Valley of the Wolves: Palestine,' and we'll cheer for the American soldiers as they escape Mogadishu (even though one of them is Josh Hartnett). Cinema, even at its most indulgent, can conjure forth opposing opinions simply due to the biases with which people enter the theater. Cinema not only provides us with its meaning, but it allows us to provide our own meaning; through our interpretations, it exposes our biases.

Not the deepest comment, but something to keep in mind.

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