Society VS Movie: Who is the real influencer?March 28, 2019
Nowadays, people have many entertainment sources from different media platform. One source that has an impact on society is movies. The movie has the first film back in 1888 and has evolved from time to time. In the present day, there is a different genre of movie, for example, adventures, action, romantic, comedy, etc. Each genre of movie has its own characteristics and impact on the audience. Some movies are made based on the true story but some are fictional. Some movies have a clear message on what they are trying to tell the audience and some don’t. As you watch the movie, you may be curious about how the movie has come to be this way. Do movies get influenced by society or what society really shapes how the movie should be?
One genre that is very famous for people is a comedy movie. It is the oldest genre of the movie and the very first silent movie is a comedy. This genre emphasizes on humor and entertains people the most. The characters in the movie tend to have exaggerated characteristics to make the movie funny. Comedy movies are one of the most famous genres in Thailand. Thai people like it because they have more sense of humor and it helps to relax from many stressed situations that are going on within the country. With such reason, Thai directors are more likely to produce a comedy movie for Thai people. For example, Thailand Only the movie, the holy man, Hor Taew Taek, etc. Most of the comedy movie will have a storyline related to Thai things, i.e. monk, Buddhists. They pick some aspect of those traditional things and add some humor to make it seems like a joke. Therefore, when people watch it, they do not have to think much but tend to look at those things as jokes. Eventually, people do not take it seriously anymore. So, how do you -think Thai comedy movies has affected on Thai society in the way people look at Thai traditional?
Furthermore, Thai comedy movies usually play with the female as a sexual object or we can use the theory called “Male Gaze Theory”. One example that we can really see is the recent Thai comedy movie that will be released on Songkran festival named “Songkran Sab-sa-tharn-lo-gun” The trailer of the movie does not tell much about what the movie is about. They focus on women that have been used as the sexual object in the movie. Does this kind of thing indicate what the society nowadays is or because society is already that way the director then choose to do this kind of movie?
How can we know that this is a Comedy? Is it only giving you a laugh?
Sci-fi (Science Fiction):
Another genre is what we usually called sci-fi movie. It actually comes from the science-fiction movie, meaning it is a fictional science-based film that tends to use more computer graphic than the other genre of movie. There are different elements that the director pick to tell in their movie. The element we often see on the sci-fi movie is robots, cyborgs, space, time travel, or even the alien worlds. It sometimes goes beyond our imagination but that is what makes this genre of movie different from another genre. The very first well-known sci-fi movie in history is “Star Wars” in 1977. Some examples of the famous sci-fi movie are Avatars, The Matrix, Avengers, etc. Although, we know that those things happened in the movie will less likely to become real in the real world, but people still enjoy watching it.
However, there is actually something that becomes real in the real world. For instance, Star Trek, first released in 1996, has many technologies and tools that did not exist at that time but it became real later after the movie was released. In the movie, there was a tool called “The Virtual Display Device” which function is that the screen will appear after you put on the glasses and you will be able to see beyond your eyes limits. Nowadays, Google company invented the technology we called “Google Glasses” that functions similarly to the one in Star Trek. Another tool that appeared in the movie and became real in the real world is the touchscreen-pad. We now have tablet and Ipad that were produced by many company which make your life much easier.
This is one way to show how movie has effect in the real world on some aspect. There are so many things that has influenced from the movie and at the same time the movie is based on our real world as well, even the science-fiction movie.
Any unique points?
Another common genre of the movie that we see in our society is Romantic Comedy or we can call it Rom-Com. We often see this type of movie not only in the theatre but also on streaming services such as Netflix, streaming television series and films via the website on personal devices, even on Television such as Korean series or Thai dramas. This type of film has been influencing our love lives in so many ways despite our unconscious.
Romantic Comedy or Rom-Com contains two genres of the film which are Romantic and Comedy films telling the story of true love, courtship, marriage, and relationship between two people in the light-hearted and humorous way with an ends happily. The plot usually starts with two characters who are friends, neighbors, or strangers meet, separating by some obstacles whether social classes, social pressure or one of them already has a partner, etc., after that both of the characters with realize in their love and then reunite with a happy ending. The film gives the sense of true love to the audience and shows that no matter what came in their way they love still win.
A RomCom with Thai society:
According to the research from Chapman University which says “ Romcom movies have a positive effect on the way people looking at the world. For example, we tend to believe in love and love will win everything.” Also, there is research that says that watching Romcom movies affects moral thinking as well. It turns out that watching movies with warm hearts makes our hearts softer and tending to understand other people more.
In Thai Society, the movie production usually provided Rom-Com films since it doesn’t have to think that deep or any hidden message in the movie, giving a fun, feel good, happy ending, and related story to the audience and the audience like it so they keep provided this type of movie again and again.
BUT… It is hard to say whether the movie production influence and make us addicted to Romantic Comedy and bring us to the beautiful world of love or it because we want to watch this kind of movie which we can escape from the real world so the filmmakers have to make it for us.
The audience itself is the one who controls the filmmaker to make the movie into that style. Romcom can influence us to act and behave as same as the movie. For example, after you watch Romcom you might think that “Actually, my boyfriend or girlfriend is also good, he or she isn’t that bad. ” which can create a better relationship.
Romcom is a hyperreality
Hyperreality is the simulation characterized by a blending of ‘reality’ and representation, where there is no clear indication of where the former stops and the latter begins.
Romcom can show the love that we think it is possible and make it into a possible way and making us believe that it can actually happen in our life. We couldn’t separate what is real or unreal because we see from the movie that even the nerdy can fall in love with the superstar so why can’t it happen our life. We watch it and we expect that we can escape from the real world then we lost in a dream world. We will see everything in a positive way because we think we have hope. We also get influence from the movie that the man must be like this or that, couples need to hold their hands while they are walking which can lead us to the hyperreality. We can’t distinguish what actually can happen in the real world since we get the picture from the movie that the real world should be like in the movie. So, if there is a demand the supply’s duty is to serve those needs.
As Jean Baudrillard, a French sociologist, philosopher, and cultural theorists argue that we take ‘maps’ of reality television and film as more real than our actual life.
The audience might be one factor but it is not 100%. The media and the filmmaker might be another aspect that influences us. The media itself produce a lot of this type of movie and they create some values which persuade and influence the audience that sticks in their heads.
It’s capitalism. If there is a demand then the supply’s duty is to serve those needs. If the movie can sell and the audience loves it so why wouldn’t they produce it? Because Romcom is like sugar, when we first have it we want to have it more and more because it gives you a sweet taste with no bitter in it. The media itself keep produce it but they don’t think how it can affect society. Stereotyping is one of the big issues in the movie. For example, woman characters who still need to depend on the man even LGBTQIA+ who seen as an entertainer or a joker in the movie.
For example, Thai Movie called “Friend Zone” from GDH, Gross Domestic Happiness.
The plot is about FRIENDZONE relationship, a thin line between friend and boyfriend or girlfriend. This is the story about Palm and Kling who has been a friend for more than 10 years. Palm likes Kling since high school and he used to confess in an indirect way to Kling that he likes her but he got rejected. Years and years passing, Palm still is friend with Kling and always help her with everything. The twist point came, “Do you ever think.. what if we’re dating what would it be? Kling asked Palm”. After that Palm think this is the chance to cross the friend line or maybe it is the end of their friendship. Both of them feel good and actually like each other but because of the word “Friend” that take them apart and disclose their true feeling. But, there still a happy ending anyway.
This movie is popular because of the word “Friendzone.” People who have had or faced this kind of relationship will understand and feel related to it. Even you never have this relationship but you still want to watch it since it like you are living in a hyperreal realm by connecting through the movie. You just engage with this world by the two main characters and the simulated story.
Another example is “ To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before ” on Netflix.
Another daydreaming story. The movie gives you a warm and lighted heart while and after you watch it. It is impossible in our real world that your love letter got sent out to all your crush and finally end updating with the hottest guys in the school but it can happen in the movie. It raises our hope that it is possible for us to have that moment or it can happen to us even we come from different backgrounds, ages, races, social class, sexual orientation, or income.
Simple noticeable which movie is Rom-com:
What’s Horror Film?
“ Films designed to frighten and panic, cause dread and alarm, and to invoke our hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience. Horror films effectively center on the dark side of life, the forbidden, and strange and alarming events. They deal with our most primal nature and its fears: our nightmares, our vulnerability, our alienation, our revulsions, our terror of the unknown, our fear of death and dismemberment, loss of identity, or fear of sexuality.”
A horror film in Thai society:
A horror film is the best seller film in Thai society. It can sell to the audience no matter which company produce it. The story usually plays with Thai legend, culture, religion, and belief since it relates and has a relationship with ghost, spirit, or moral. Because of Thai people grow up with a strong belief, superstition or we called it Mutaelu which make a horror movie more famous.
The filmmaker knows this so there grab this point to make a movie. There are many believers and legends in Thai society that they make it more real, in a concrete object and picture for the audience to easily into it.
Thai Horror Film also gives a sense of hyperreality. Why is that?
Not only the audience itself that want to watch Horror film but the filmmaker is another factor for creating some values and belief to make it stronger by using the sense of hyperreality.
Since Thai society already knows the legends, beliefs, and tradition that we have for a long time but most of us never touch or see it in the real world. Horror film gives a feeling of suspense, excitement, fear, anxiety and driving adrenaline in our blood. We couldn’t see the ghost or spirit by ourselves in the real world but we can see it in the movie. The movie represents and has a picture of many types of Thai ghost in many forms and the audience believes that it suppose to be like that because the movie told us since we never see it in our life. They put values and belief that if we follow is good but if we, not something bad might happen to you as the same as happened to the character in the movie. They are chasing, killing, the torture scene in the horror movie which the audience doesn’t have to face that situation to get a real feeling but they can feel it through the representative or the character in the movie. By watching this story, we can not know what story is real or what we can believe. Some stories or believe got distorted or changed from its truth which we can not be sure what we actually happen and the only thing we can trust is what the movie tells us.
For example, Nang Nak:
Nobody knows what actually happen there or what is she look like but the filmmaker just creates it from the legends and story which passing from the forefather. Even the hand scene that Mae Nak’s hand stretch further than normal to grab a lime under the basement.
Is there any Horror Character Stereotypes?
Do movies influence society, or it is the society that shapes how the movie should be?
There is no specific answer to this question. The relationship between Movies and Society is like a water cycle or hydrologic cycle. Suppose that this water source of the rain is an orange juice then evaporates up to the atmosphere, getting condensation and become an orange juice cloud after that the orange juice clouds precipitate down as an orange juice rain. It is the cycle which happens again and again. We can not say society make this style of content or the movies create and influence society. Both of them are engaged by the collective experienced. As long as the movies and society can be related and shared their related experienced, this cycle will never stop. They influence each other forth and back. The only thing we can do is to adapt and keep up with those values and beliefs that we got from both ways.