Walker Art Center
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"Le Cinema est un Language Universel"


for action is great. Asian cinemas might be the strongest cinema in the future. They are already bit by bit taking over the American market and Hollywood, according to recent industry reports. Jackie Chan and John Woo are highly recognized Hollywood directors. At the same time, Asian businesses are investing more and more in the L.A. dreamland or in their own self-made version of it. There is a very strange twist going on, and it might be that in the future Asian cinemas are more powerful than Hollywood cinema. But aside from that, there are still independent and young Asian cinemas that have something important to say.

PV: Do you think it's a matter of responsibility? To tell a story that nobody else can tell?

CB: I believe in the purity of stories told by interesting filmmakers. Of course, what is purity when a camera is in front of your face? It's important to gain knowledge of other cultures. It is all too easy to say of (sorry for using the word) "others": they are bastards, they are this or that, without making an effort to understand their culture. One has to start not at "I" but at "we." We are not God Almighty; we are just part of a greater system called the globe. It's critical that through visual art, through cinema, and through what we are doing as curators, we find ways to position ourselves in this "mechanism" that is so much bigger than the little spot where we live.

PV: What you're describing seems very close to journalism.

CB: No, it's not journalism. I think the essence of our lives is about searching for our place in the world. And we can be helped in this search through complex or simple paintings and films. We are all looking to define a place, our place. And as I sometimes say, the only moment I truly feel my place in the world is when I'm on top of a mountain. You know, maybe what we present in visual art or film are all little mountaintops. And, shouts echo better from atop a summit.

PV: To play devil's advocate . . . Isn't this type of production questionable because it's full of goodwill, which we know belongs to an industry as well? CB: We shouldn't belong to a commercially driven industry or market, but we shouldn't belong to UNICEF either. We have to be very aware of and shielded against global impacts of any kind.

PV: So the global film practice lies somewhere between Hollywood and UNICEF?!

CB: When you look closely at the UNICEF calendars, they sometimes look like Hollywood stills from a desert or jungle film. UNICEF sells them for a good cause. But it is the look and the message that I tackle here, the photographic manipulation used to reel in the poor sensitive souls of ambitious middle-class do-gooders. But I should be more serious here, though a connection between Hollywood and UNICEF does make some sense. Let's take the Grand Canyon as a metaphor. I see UNICEF on one side and Hollywood on the other, and we are in the canyon looking up at the vultures but still safe. And to be honest I prefer the frog's-eye perspective over the bird's-eye perspective.

PV: If I said to you tomorrow, "We're doing an exhibition that addresses the issue of globalization and cultural practices and we need a concurrent movie program," and I asked you to name five films that are really important in this context, what would they be? Would you pick Pocahontas?

CB: Pocahontas was a wrong film and I should program it for that very reason. It was not about Native Americans; it was all about the male, white character. She only had to be beautiful . . .

PV: Exotic.

CB: Yes, exotic. Exoticism is something we must avoid in our practice, but our consumer society just adores it. It is easier to present a group of half-naked Brazilian dancers on stage performing so-called traditional dances than a contemporary Brazilian dance company or a performer dealing with some serious actual issues. Pocahontas is a typical Disney product. Every Disney film should be banned, but you cannot say that too loud