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HOLLYWOOD MELODRAMA IN EUROPEAN FILMS - Essay Example

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After 1960, European cinema took itself to a new level by addressing to new and better class audiences. It also started deviating from the paradigm set by Hollywood regarding classical narrative cinemas. Melodrama first appeared in Hollywood during the era of pre- Hollywood silent cinema. During those times, it was equated with the subcategory of ‘woman’s film’ which invited female criticism on women’s ‘subaltern’ status. During the decade from 1970- 1980, European cinematic discourse took a different turn. It paved the way for “revalorization of the affective”. Through her works, Linda Williams led the way. This new way required placing of emotions in a broad category. She is also credited for taking the melodramatic genre beyond family melodramas or women – centric stories. As compared to European movies, the melodramatic movies of Hollywood contained “semiotic, psychoanalytic or ideological structures”. Melodramatic movies, in opinion of (LANDY, 1991, p. 19- 20) carried different interpretations. Groups supporting different film movements differ in opinions. In most parts of the Western Europe, as well as in Hollywood, realist melodramatic movie gained popularity. Society and social issues were the chief subjects of these movies. Melodrama, as a theatrical genre of Hollywood emphasizes more on subjectivity of emotions over social commentary. Everything related to emotions is externalized and presented in form of gestures (Deleuze and the cinemas of performance: powers of affection, 2008, p. 71). Music has played one of the most important roles when it comes to theatrical melodramas of nineteenth century. This tradition has remained unchanged even in twenty -first century. Thus, present day melodramatic movies bear subtle impression of traditional functions and conventions of music (Reay, 2004, p. 6). Conventions of Hollywood melodrama In European movies Since 1920, European cinema has set for an enterprise to have an individual identity and disassociate itself from Hollywood. Though the goal was achieved to a certain degree by countries like Germany, France and Italy, European cinema could never come out fully from Hollywood domains (Dyer and Vincendeau, 1992, p. 8). Chief notions of melodramas in Hollywood are- art is primarily used for criticism, domestic tragedy is a sub- genre of melodrama, virtuous characters suffer throughout the discourse it s worth noticing that, degree or possibility of suffering does not depend on person’s nature. Also, absolute happiness portrayed through characters are not practical in certain cases as in real life sufferings are inevitable. Lastly, the main character represents the entire population having similar problem. He or she stands for a whole mass seeking to change the course of actions or an entire system. Before ceasing its existence, melodrama in European film was deeply influenced by generic iconographies of Hollywood. General subject matters, perceived from a broader point of view were considered for producing melodramas. Hollywood’s influence could then be felt in European cinemas as the producers and directors made use of conventional Hollywood devices like “peplum files, historical swashbucklers, biblical epics and exotic adventure. All these were modifies and conditioned according to ...Show more
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Summary

European cinema has always been torn between two contrary objectives. The first motif comprises of a film’s economic aspect, global competition and international expansion, and the other one includes national film policy…
HOLLYWOOD MELODRAMA IN EUROPEAN FILMS
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