Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice: A Transnational Journey through Time and Space1

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

At the beginning of the 21st century, the processes of globalization have propelled intense cultural contacts between formerly cohesive communities resulting in both homogenizing and hybridizing socio-cultural changes (Robertson, 1995: 27); these changes, however, go hand in hand with a "global fear" of a potentially threatening "other", which fuel people to take defensive actions that re-create "protective" prejudices and boundaries (Bauman, 2006: 97). As culturally hybrid products, transnational films not only transcend the limits of cinematic genres but cultural boundaries based on prejudice and uneven power relations. Chadha's transnational movie Bride and Prejudice (2004) includes elements of Hollywood, Bollywood and British cinematic traditions to create a hybrid transnational film that metaphorically represents the re-emergence of past prejudices in contemporary encounters of Eastern and Western cultures. Following a cultural studies methodological approach, this article intends to analyze the competing meanings and interpretations the film offers when set against its globalized cultural background.

KEYWORDS: transnational cinema, film genres, diaspora, globalization, hybridity.

RESUMEN

En los albores del siglo XXI, los procesos de la globalización han intensificado intercambios culturales entre comunidades hasta entonces cerradas, dando lugar a cambios sociales conducentes a la homogeneidad o a la hibridación de las culturas (Robertson, 1995: 27); esta situación también suele ir acompañada del "miedo global" a un "otro" potencialmente amenazador, lo cual provoca acciones defensivas que recrean prejuicios y fronteras "protectoras" (Bauman, 2006: 97). Como producto cultural híbrido, el cine transnacional no sólo transciende los límites de los géneros cinematográficos si no que también traspasa los de las identidades culturales basadas en prejuicios y relaciones de poder desiguales. La película de Gurinder Chadha Bodas y Prejuicios (2004) incluye ingredientes de tradiciones cinematográficas de Hollywood, Bollywood, y del Reino Unido para crear un film transnacional sobre los prejuicios que todavía prevalecen en los encuentros entre Oriente y Occidente. Siguiendo un enfoque metodológico cultural de carácter interdisciplinar, en este artículo se pretende analizar los diversos significados que esta película ofrece cuando se estudia dentro del marco de la globalización cultural.

PALABRAS CLAVE: cine transnacional, géneros cinematográficos, diáspora, globalización, hibridación.

In the context of 21st century globalization, cinema plays an important role in both reflecting and contributing to the socio-economic and cultural interactions at stake in "the process of the compression of the world and the intensification of the consciousness of the world as a whole" (Robertson, 1994: 8). As Andrew Higson states, "the media are vital to the argument that modern nations are imagined communities. But contemporary media activity is also clearly one of the main ways in which transnational cultural connections are established" (2006: 17). In this respect, the analysis of filmic productions that deal with transnational issues in terms of production, setting and thematic content become extremely relevant from a cultural perspective. The processes of globalization have propelled faster and more intense cultural contacts between formerly cohesive and separated communities (Steger, 2003: 6). This intense contact, which results in both homogenizing and hybridizing socio-cultural changes (Robertson, 1995: 27), is also accompanied by what Zygmunt Bauman denominates "global fear": "In the liquid modern world, the dangers and fears are also liquid-like" (2006: 97). In other words, fears of a potentially threatening "other" fuel people in globalized societies to take defensive actions and thus re-create prejudices and boundaries that protect themselves from these "other" individuals or communities. …

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