Film is not only entertainment, but a language with cultural implications. （Giannetti, 2005）The wave of globalization has enabled films to spread more effectively, allowing people around the world to understand cultures of other regions through films. As an effective display and trading platform for films, film festival provides a good way for all types of films to communicate with their peers, society and audiences. However, the film festival plays a role in the film industry, promotes cultural exchanges between different regions, and also enables audiences to learn more about the cultural backgrounds and social states of other regions.
Take the 2018 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) as an example: more than two-thirds of over 400 films participating in the festival come from other countries and regions around the world. According to the film introduction guide distributed by the film festival, there are seven different regions including Australia. Melbourne is a city of multi-cultural integration. The film selection of MIFF also provides a platform for Melbourne audiences with different cultural backgrounds to understand other cultures. In addition to promoting cultural understanding, this also provides Melbourne audiences a broader perspective to understand multi cultures.
The first film I watched at this film festival was The Third Murder from Japan which was played in an old-fashioned cinema full of people in Melbourne city. The film is full of typical characteristics of Japanese films: quiet, slow rhythm, meticulous but profound. The film contains a lot of legal words and sentences, as well as has Japanese cultural characteristics like many Japanese films, such as etiquette. It is a little difficult for me whose mother tongue is not Japanese to understand the English subtitle. I found that it was the same with some of the audiences watching this film. After the film was over, I discussed the film outside the cinema with a few people I didn’t know. Different people had different understanding and concerns, but all discussed the deep meaning of the anti-inference film through the film’s lens and hue. Maybe this is the cultural exchange brought about by the film festival so that audiences in other regions are told about their cultures, historical background and the views the director wants to express through films. In addition to this film, several of the films I watched showed the same situation. After the film was over, the audiences gave applause to the film and discussed and exchanged positively. What is worth noting is that the 2018 MIFF has identified a category called New Voice of China in its film classification. The five selected films are all directed by cutting-edge directors from China. Four of them have been on in China, and the film An Elephant Sitting Still has been expected by Chinese audiences. The film by the famous Chinese director Jia Zhangke has also been selected for the MIFF, but has not been divided into the same category as the five films. This shows that the international film environment has begun to accept and include the works of China’s cutting-edge directors who not only represent the new generation of Chinese filmmakers, but also express the state of social concern and the new voice of the new generation of Chinese youth to the rest of the world. Cannes Film Festival is also a typical film festival to promote cultural exchanges. France is a major producer of art films. The state and government have provided many policies and subsidies for French art films. It can be said that art film is a cultural brand and symbol of France. Cannes Film Festival, as an international A-category film festival, skillfully show French art films to audiences around the world, as well as attracts excellent art films from all over the world, providing them a platform for exchange and display. In addition to better promoting French art films, this can also promote the global art film exchange and cooperation so that people know French cultures, accept French cultural symbols, and understand the art films of different cultural backgrounds. In addition to MIFF and large international film festivals, there have been many small and medium-sized film festivals with cooperation among countries in recent years, such as Sino-US film festivals, Sino-Australian film festivals, Koran film in Australia, Toronto-Japanese film festivals. The purpose of these festivals is to promote film industry communication and corporation, as well as cultural exchanges between countries. The appearance of these film festivals also shows that the film festivals have promoted cultural exchanges between regions and film industry communication to a certain extent.
Giannetti, L. (2005). Understanding movies (11th ed.). Beijing, Beijing: Beijing united publishing.