Saturday February 23, 2019
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Greenlandic anorak not hoodie: What we can learn from Kielsen about preserving cultural heritage

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By Ishan Kukreti

Culture is the bedrock of human psychological makeup. Apart from forming attitudes, beliefs and even preferences, culture gives a person an identity, a sense of belonging. Humans as social beings have culture as their default settings as they explore the world and try to make sense of it.

One of the biggest price paid for globalization, perhaps bigger even than the financial price, is the erosion of culture and a sense of inferiority. This issue has been raised time and again with the advent of globalization and opening up of economies and has been best surmised by MacBride report of UNESCO, called Many Voices, One World.

The problem of cultural erosion is global. The world is suffering from it. Recently when Greenland’s Prime Minister Kim Kielsen, attended a landmark ceremony in Brussels wearing the nation’s traditional outfit, the Greenlandic anorak, many thought that he was dressed in a ‘hoodie’ and many took offence. Many even poked fun at the wardrobe disaster of Prime Minister. In India, wearing a ‘Kurta’ undoubtedly makes one a ‘Revolutionary’ ‘ Poet’ ‘Politician’ or all.

The shift in people’s preferences is not just a social phenomenon. It has deep economic reverberations too. The indigenous industries not only suffer because of this but are trapped in a hopeless struggle to beat the west ( read US) at its own game. They face the choice between churning out cheap rip-offs of western products or shutting shop.

An aping of the foreign culture has strong implications for the man on  people too. For example, the rootless, clueless protagonists of the Indian authors abroad like Jhumpa Lahiri are not just figments of their creator’s imagination but as flesh and bone as the Tuesday-Thursday vegetarian buffs of Hollywood and McDonald’s.

The amount of western culture an average urban Indian young adult consumes in the form of movies, clothes, literature, even food is more than the amount ever consumed by his/her predecessors. Given the situation, it is no surprise that today’s India is divided right in two. One ready to bust out of the closet, kissing, smooching, merry making on the roads and the other ready to beat them back into the very closets they came out from, invoking gods of various attributes.

Blindly aping things has never been the way to develop or self actualize. Global exchange of ideas is a mutual process. As the French philosopher, Albert Camus has said, “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” the world today needs to understand cooperation.

As long as the global village has just one western voice, there will not be equality and prosperity for all. The two hemispheres of the planet have to work in collaboration like the two hemispheres of the brain to keep the body of humanity working just fine.

 

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Oscar Nominees Furious Over Exclusion From Telecast

Rachael Stanley, the Executive Director of the Costume Designers Guild, lamented the loss of attention for her guild's industry siblings

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Hollywood filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro and leading craftspeople have condemned a decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to hand out four awards during commercial breaks in the hope of trimming the shows (Oscars) run time.

Nominees and their colleagues from the commercial-banished categories of cinematography, make-up and hairstyling, film editing, and live action shorts slammed the decision in interviews and via heated posts on social media, reports variety.com.

“I find it depressing that they are doing this. Hopefully it won’t be like the part of the show where they play clips from the Sci-Tech awards dinner. That always feels a bit sad, like they didn’t get invited to the real party,” said cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, a nominee this year for “Never Look Away”.

Deschanel is referencing the Academy’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards, held two weeks before the Oscars and typically hosted by a celebrity, which honours technical achievement in film.

Deschanel has been nominated six times stretching back to 1983’s “The Right Stuff”, but has yet to win.

Filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, a multiple-nominee for producing, directing, writing and cinematography for “Roma”, criticised the Academy’s decision.

“In the history of cinema, masterpieces have existed without sound, without colour, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without cinematography and without editing,” wrote Cuaron.

Three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki called it “an unfortunate decision”.

Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro said he “would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but cinematography and editing are at the very heart of our craft”.

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An Oscar Award.

“They are not inherited from a theatrical tradition or a literary tradition. They are cinema itself,” del Toro said.

Drake Doremus, indie director behind the late Anton Yelchin’s “Like Crazy”, even called for a “boycott”.

In a memo outlining the changes, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President John Bailey said representatives from categories that were shunted off to the commercial breaks volunteered to have their award presented off-camera.

However, the board members who represent those crafts don’t speak for the unions or guild membership.

The show’s director, Glenn Weiss, will determine what emotionally resonant moments from the four speeches make it to air later in the broadcast, according to an individual close to the production.

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The show will cut any comment from presenters, as well as any recitation of the nominees, said the insider. While Bailey said the speeches will air in their entirety, that may not be the case on the big night as broadcasters reserve the right to cut them, the source said.

“This decision could be perceived as a separation and division of this creative process, thus minimising our fundamental creative contributions,” said Kees van Oostrum, President of American Society of Cinematographers, in a statement on Tuesday.

“To find out so close to the actual awards that you’ll be in the commercial break, it’s disappointing,” Lee Smith, last year’s film editing winner for “Dunkirk”, said.

Rachael Stanley, the Executive Director of the Costume Designers Guild, lamented the loss of attention for her guild’s industry siblings. (IANS)