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Due Wed., Dec. 8th (oral presentation) and final paper due Saturday, Dec. 11th by 11:59pm
Points: 100 for the paper and 20 for the oral presentation
Write a 3-4 page film analysis paper (double spaced) on the verbal/nonverbal communication and interpersonal and intercultural communication concepts from class of a film or documentary related to the Verderber and MacGeorge text, illness and healing narratives, cultural narratives, lived experiences, ethnocentrism/ethnorelative, oppression/marginalization, stigma, overcoming barriers, the essence of hope in the face of adversity, and other wellness concepts that may emerge through the film in connection to our readings and lectures.
COMM 2120 Interpersonal Communication
Title of Film
Summary of Film (1-2 paragraphs)
Rationale for Selecting Film (1-2 paragraphs)
Core Interpersonal Communication (Verbal and Non-Verbal) Concepts in Film (2-3 paragraphs) – Give 2-3 examples from the film/documentary- exemplars of verbal/non-verbal emotions ranging from apathy, discrimination, to empathy, compassion, silence and other concepts you wish to select from in the readings, lectures, media.
Interpersonal and intercultural communication concepts in the film/documentary (2-3 paragraphs)
– Relate 2 key concepts from Ch. 1-12, or Bennett’s Model for Intercultural Sensitivity, lectures, reflections and/or media from the semester, perhaps the film depicts marginalization, racism, enthnocentrism, disparities, … And/or does the film/documentary portray cultural strengths, ethnorelative approaches, personal resilience with story line …)
Conclusion (1-2 paragraphs)
– Highlight the “call to action” (as Sorrells would state from her Intercultural Praxis Framework) from the film. What can we learn form the film/documentary? What core concept does the film teach us according to Sorrells concepts for social justice?
SAMPLE: Film Analysis
“Gung Ho” C. Tidwell
Gung Ho is a movie that came out in 1986 depicting an American labor force at an auto manufacturing plant which is taken over by a Japanese corporation. Central to the film are American and Japanese cultural differences, particularly in management styles. A small-town labor leader convinces a Japanese auto manufacturer to take over his town’s bankrupt auto plant. After the inevitable culture clashes, particularly over Japanese imposed work rules, the workers undertake a month-long “contest” to show that their individualistic American methods can surpass the best efforts of an auto plant in Japan. They succeed only after they embrace the communal approach of the Japanese.
Share the reason why you chose this film (1-2 paragraphs)
Key Intercultural and Interpersonal Communication Concepts and Scenes (share examples of verbal and/or non-verbal communication examples from film)
Before I review the key intercultural issues I find illustrated in Gung Ho, I would like to comment on the role of comic exaggeration in the movie. For instance, in an early scene, the central character, Hunt Stevenson (Michal Keaton) flies to Japan. In trying to reach his destination, he ends up in a rice field asking for directions. Then, once he is at the board meeting, he discovers that the screen he has been awkwardly carrying throughout his trip is not needed. Instead one drops from the ceiling of the board room at a touch of a button.
Ethnocentrism, the assumption by all cultures of their own inherent superiority, is amply demonstrated by the actions of Buster (George Wendt) mistreating the Japanese wife of the plant manager in a grocery store by keeping her from choosing any items from the shelf until his “buddy” finally stops him. Ethnocentirsm also underscores the relationship between the Japanese and American softball teams
Stereotyping is perhaps one of the weaknesses of the film. Although the film goes out of its way to avoid racism, both Japanese inscrutability and American labor inefficiencies are occasionally exaggerated. At the same time, however, I have found my students quickly pick up on examples of stereotyping.
Individualism / Collectivism, the cornerstone of Hofstede’s study, underlies many of the episodes in the movie. American individualism is shown in the actions of Hunt Stevenson, particularly in his decision to go it alone on his trip to Japan to convince the Japanese company that they need to step in and save the key industry in his town. It is also seen in his leadership in the labor meetings where he emphasizing his personal ability to control the Japanese management team — a skill forecast by his references to his sporting ability in high school when he individually won the “big game.”
Japanese collectivism is amply shown throughout — beginning with the initial, accidental meeting of the central American and Japanese character at the “rite of shame” when Kazahiro (Gedde Watanabe) is being “reinforced” in the need for group cohesion because of his earlier failures as a manger, in the Japanese slogans and group exercises they impose on the American labor force, in the scenes of the Japanese swimming together in the river near the American auto plant, and most of all in the stylistic differences of the American and Japanese softball teams (the Americans are a rag-tag group of individuals who disdain warmup and “team spirit”; the Japanese not only have uniforms but practice team play in warmup). The differences also underscore the Japanese collectivistic concerns for harmony and group bonds; the American individualism is epitomized by its competitive “win at any cost” spirit.
Masculinity / Femininity, another of Hofstede’s concepts which focuses on achievement/success orientation and on gender roles, is seen in the Japanese attitude towards women as seen in Kaz’s treatment of his wife when he brings home office work, in the Japanese management unwillingness to allow one of the team time off to be with his pregnant wife. This is highlighted by Hunt’s treatment of his girlfriend at a dinner with the Japanese managers. When he basically kicks her out of the room so it is a men-only meeting, my students first think of this as an example of male chauvinism. However, this also allows us to discuss the cultural differences on the masculinity /femininity scale of Hofstede. While Hunt is chauvinistic from an American perspective, to the Japanese his actions are acceptable to their understanding of clear gender roles. Note that the Japanese are ranked by Hofstede as the most masculine society in world while the US ranks approximately in the middle (Hofstede,1997, p 84).
Japanese versus American management styles are also contrasted throughout the movie. This also underscores the individualism / collectivism concepts. Noteworthy is the Japanese tendency (overstated at times) to promote life-time employment as seen in the willingness to retain Buster as a janitor when he is unwilling to follow the group process and change his working style to meet Japanese efficiencies. The final episode of the movie, when the American auto workers succeed in breaking the Japanese record for number of automobiles produced in a single month shows the need for American workers to accept the cooperative or collectivistic approach. In turn, the Japanese management becomes increasingly individualistic and feminine, and synergism that models the ideals we promote for intercultural encounters.
Gung Ho presents basic cultural issues, Hoftsede’s theories, and cultural negotiation differences. Nearly every major concept may be visualized by the actions and words of characters in the movies that are such an integral part of social and intellectual framework of communication.