How many films/TV shows have you recently watched that are about another culture or directly produced by another culture? Chances are, the number is higher than you think!
Netflix, one of the most popular streaming services in the United States, actually has a lot of good quality shows in languages besides English. Looking back at shows I’ve watched over the past year, I realized that I have enjoyed movies and series in Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Danish, Japanese, Chinese, and German.
As language study is a part of my degree, I reassure myself that binge-watching series is in actuality boosting my own awareness of other cultures through media… very convincing, I know.
Jokes aside, the easy access to many high-rated foreign language series does present an online environment where familiarizing oneself with another culture is more normalized than ever before. Parasite’s oscar wins in 2020 further supports the trend of growing appreciation of works coming from places other than Hollywood.
Fascinating storylines exist across all cultures and languages, and a language barrier eased through subtitles adds to the excitement of exploring a new world in a movie or series. I now have a much better idea of different languages’ characteristics and inflections, and also picked up some vocabulary along the way. And subtly but critically, what underlies these movie and series creations is not only creativity, but the lived experiences of their creators.
Spain’s touch of passion and romance oozed from Money Heist, and North Korean life as told by defectors were heavily referenced in Crash Landing on You. In our very global world, subtle cultural references and differences can make all the difference, and this is especially true in real life that crosses borders. Just as entertainment is becoming more globalized, businesses and markets are also more far-reaching. Exploring new cultures with a media-consuming pastime has a much lower learning curve compared to more serious approaches.
With exposure to more languages and cultures through movies and TV series, I personally have become even more excited about exploring the world. I am optimistic that as popular streaming sites have become more international and encompassing of the world’s cultures, there will be greater celebration of diversity worldwide from here on out.
This is one of the positive changes that global connectivity through technology has made possible – with our ability to move past language barriers, we can now appreciate the unique ideas and experiences of many around the world, be it in entertainment or in other business sectors. And with more people working and collaborating together, I am confident that there is much to be excited for in the years to come.