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American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies 
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Post American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
Note that my point from this is derived from my viewing of Never Let Me Go. If you haven't seen the movie, you may not want to view the spoiled material below, as it does constitute the major arc of the movie.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
So, in Never Let Me Go the characters finally find an appreciation for their mortality and the nature of their existence only when they fall in love. But then they resign themselves to their fate. They make one effort to work within the system to save their lives, but when that fails, they willingly submit to the state, which kills them for the sake of others.

This brings up key differences that I view between American and (many) British and Japanese films (the author of the novel is a Japanese-born British). In the former, this would NEVER happen. The two characters may try to work within the system, but upon that failing, they would try to escape and make their own way. They would never be so obedient and submissive. The latter, however, values statism and obedience to the state (one could even say that this was the General Will in practice), and as a result, the characters are like sheep led to the slaughter.

(Also, the American version would have a requisite car chase scene.


So, what do you think about this specifically, and cultural differences as seen through cinematic storytelling across different nations in general?

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Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:45 am
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Post Re: American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
So the American version is The Island?

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Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:13 pm
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Post Re: American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
Syd Henderson wrote:
So the American version is The Island?


Basically so :lol:

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Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:37 pm
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Post Re: American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
Perhaps this is because America is a country founded on a revolution? We're big about not putting up with shit we don't like.

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Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:30 pm
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Post Re: American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
firefly wrote:
Syd Henderson wrote:
So the American version is The Island?


Basically so :lol:


I haven't seen the movie but still recall parts of the novel fairly well. Never Let Me Go is a little different because the characters know their fates more or less from birth. In The Island, the characters didn't know what they "were" and thought they were winning a lottery to live in some sort of utopia.

In Never Let Me Go, the characters are conditioned (well, "schooled") about the importance of being a donor. The characters don't try to escape because of their submissiveness but because they don't understand the notion of escape. What from? This is all they know. It's not like they're suppressing the notion to escape because it's wrong. The notion never enters their consciousness.

However, I think you're right about culture coming into play when considering the writing. American films may seek to portray different set of values because these are the values important to them. Japanese and British movies have a long tradition about making films about honour (things like samurai films, especially). Of course, you get a lot of that in US films, but it does seem more prevalent across the pond.

Imho, The Bridge on the River Kwai is a film that does a good job of examining the difference raised in this thread.


Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:32 pm
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Post Re: American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
Yes, with an American film it wouldn't matter if they were being told this their whole life, especially after they found love. They would resist and fight to the death to choose their own way.

It's been many years since I saw Bridge on the River Kwai; I'll have to give it another watch.

Actually it reminded me of Serenity:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
In Serenity, River Tam goes to a school whose purpose is to use her for the benefit of society, much as it was with the three characters in Never Let Me Go. Instead of accepting her fate, she finds a way to contact her brother, who gives up everything to rescue her.

The issue of honor and accepting one's fate is definitely important here, but so too is the different philosophical traditions. Europe was much more influenced by Rousseau than America was, and this could be said to be an illustration of the General Will in practice: we get the impression that most people in Britain are ver happy with the program, and do not care about the donors. Thus, the policy is the General Will of society, and, so far as Rousseau goes, acceptable.

In Serenity, we could also observe that the population values their security, and the Alliance uses River Tam to preserve their security. But it's not about society, it's about the individual, and individual liberty and identity.

Britain, and certainly Japan, would never, ever look favorably on the phrase "I aim to misbehave." But this is perhaps the key line of the movie Serenity. And it represents the individualistic spirit of America.

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Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:21 pm
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Post Re: American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
This is interesting, but probably should not be taken too seriously. If 99% of American movies have a happy end attached to them, does it mean that 99% of Americans have an intellect of a 5-year old who wants to hear the same fucking bedtime story every night? Or that Americans are so borderline manic depressive that any mention of something other than a happy end will trigger a wave of depression? Definitely not. These plots are driven mostly by money, marketing reasons, partially based on some myths and bastardized philosophic ideas.


Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:27 am
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Post Re: American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
Freedom_Fryer wrote:
This is interesting, but probably should not be taken too seriously. If 99% of American movies have a happy end attached to them, does it mean that 99% of Americans have an intellect of a 5-year old who wants to hear the same fucking bedtime story every night? Or that Americans are so borderline manic depressive that any mention of something other than a happy end will trigger a wave of depression? Definitely not. These plots are driven mostly by money, marketing reasons, partially based on some myths and bastardized philosophic ideas.


Maybe it would mean that we are more optimistic ;)

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Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:40 pm
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Post Re: American Movies vs. British and Japanese Movies
firefly wrote:
Freedom_Fryer wrote:
This is interesting, but probably should not be taken too seriously. If 99% of American movies have a happy end attached to them, does it mean that 99% of Americans have an intellect of a 5-year old who wants to hear the same fucking bedtime story every night? Or that Americans are so borderline manic depressive that any mention of something other than a happy end will trigger a wave of depression? Definitely not. These plots are driven mostly by money, marketing reasons, partially based on some myths and bastardized philosophic ideas.


Maybe it would mean that we are more optimistic ;)


That is also an acceptable spin. In the 70s, though, a much broader range of endings was acceptable and nowadays it seems that all endings are decided in the meetings of some retarded marketing MBA VPs. And most scripts are written by a computer, including the Oscar contenders.


Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:00 pm
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