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America Pro Forma: Performing America in Translation

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Abstract:

Whether before or after the world's financial crisis, the twenty-first century, more than any other, is characterized by an increasingly faster flow of objects, ideas, images and people, whose identities are the fruit of a never-ending process of negotiations across space and place; that is, they are in constant change, they are in translation. One such locus of translation is the promotional artifact for Hollywood films in France: far from imposing American culture on Europe, film distributors throughout Europe translate posters and trailers linguistically and culturally. In the process, much is gained but in this cross-cultural calculus, much has been adapted of the US message once believed to be dominant and all-pervasive. The purpose of this paper is to uncover US film distribution companies' vested interests in the performance of translated US identities; to this end, I will focus on the promotion of teen-girl films with African-American protagonists or culture from Bring it on! (Peyton Reed, 2000) to Step Up 2 (Jon Chu, 2008). Beyond the necessary acknowledgement that pro forma visions of US cultures is all there is once the national territory's borders are crossed, these cross-cultural negotiations also reveal France's own identity crisis: what room is there, within a desired homogenous whole (a pro forma France), for black performances in which much has been invested?
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p417567_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Dotter, Anne. "America Pro Forma: Performing America in Translation" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Grand Hyatt, San Antonio, TX, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p417567_index.html>

APA Citation:

Dotter, A. "America Pro Forma: Performing America in Translation" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Grand Hyatt, San Antonio, TX <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p417567_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: Whether before or after the world's financial crisis, the twenty-first century, more than any other, is characterized by an increasingly faster flow of objects, ideas, images and people, whose identities are the fruit of a never-ending process of negotiations across space and place; that is, they are in constant change, they are in translation. One such locus of translation is the promotional artifact for Hollywood films in France: far from imposing American culture on Europe, film distributors throughout Europe translate posters and trailers linguistically and culturally. In the process, much is gained but in this cross-cultural calculus, much has been adapted of the US message once believed to be dominant and all-pervasive. The purpose of this paper is to uncover US film distribution companies' vested interests in the performance of translated US identities; to this end, I will focus on the promotion of teen-girl films with African-American protagonists or culture from Bring it on! (Peyton Reed, 2000) to Step Up 2 (Jon Chu, 2008). Beyond the necessary acknowledgement that pro forma visions of US cultures is all there is once the national territory's borders are crossed, these cross-cultural negotiations also reveal France's own identity crisis: what room is there, within a desired homogenous whole (a pro forma France), for black performances in which much has been invested?


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