In this second part of our blog into trying to understand the term transnational cinema and what it actually means. We once again try to define what transnational cinema actually is, and by comparing it to other types of cinema we might get closer to the truth.
The Transnational Cinema
Transnational cinema could be a term for art, a way to describe it for critical theory rather than a definition of an actual body of work. Transnational cinema includes more than just the film content of its genre. Cinema could be transnational in the way it has technically put together, the different migrations of talent to produce the work and the way it is marketed and distributed. Transnational cinema could also describe the cinematic style and perhaps its subject matter. Perhaps taking all this to its logical conclusion it might suggest that all cinema is transnational with the exception of regional cinema with a national or ethnic point of view.
This could all be seen as looking at the definition with critical perspective, and do not all films fall into this category?
Perhaps if we think of transnational as a study of things and objects that in themselves move between nations it is easier to grasp the phrase transnational cinema. This might define that transnational might be a more defined category than say world cinema. Transnational cinema therefore is less concerned about speaking about different places around the world, and is more to do with the specific way film depicts the world through flows and migration of ideas, people and things.
As we have touched on before this may be in the way a specific film was funded, or the locations it was shot in. And as all cinema is truly a global phenomenon then this theory supports that all film is therefore transnational.
A Clue to Its Definition
Perhaps a valid clue into the meaning of transnational cinema is in the prefix trans, which means across or through. It does not mean that it is simply a bridge between one way a nation approaches something to the way another nation approaches it. It is the way the thing has been changed in the transition.
Thus, transnational cinema brings with it a promise of transformation of the object of the film. Our attention is therefore brought to the way movement has altered the structure of the film and asks questions about the process of transformation and not the objects that have been changed.
In conclusion transnational cinema should be viewed as an approach, in fact it is academics who have insisted that a label has been slapped onto this form of cinema for their own benefit. Most filmmakers just concentrate on producing their work and do not probably even understand the phrase transnational cinema.
In all this study trying to define the term transnational cinema we have not touched on the cinema audiences and how they perceive this form of cinema. Perhaps the true definition lies with them and the way they interpret the film that really defines the term.