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Hollywood Raises Political Consciousness

Political Messages in Feature Films

Edited By Michael Haas

Feature films are jam-packed with political messages. This volume provides the tools for analyzing the politics embedded in films. Contributors reveal how subliminal messages are a clue to how the public perceives political reality through otherwise entertaining feature films.
The volume is divided into two parts: Part One focuses on defining political films while Part Two looks at how «politics» is defined within films. Contributors find several ways of defining «political films», but agree that while the messages in films may often seem progressive, they are usually quite conservative, with the aim of making as much money as possible for the people financing the films.
The book provides a history of political film and identifies several hundred films with specific political messages.
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8 Films about Thailand and Vietnam

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8

Films about Thailand and Vietnam

Michael Haas

How, based on portrayals in films, does the world perceive various countries around the world? How do films inside countries differ from portrayals of the same countries abroad? In the present chapter, I focus on two countries where foreign stereotypy is common—Thailand and Vietnam. The two questions are important not only for their tourist industries but also for the foreign relations of the United States and other countries toward the two countries. American filmmakers can complicate American foreign policy as well as confuse American tourists into misbehaving in Thailand or Vietnam or even toward Thais and Vietnamese living in the United States. In addition, nearly half of the profits from American films are derived abroad, so culturally inappropriate films can hurt Hollywood at the box office (Eller and Muñoz 2002:A26). Whereas previous chapters have focused on films from Hollywood, the narrative below compares films made by Thai and Vietnamese companies with American films and films of other countries that focus on Thailand and Vietnam.

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