In an interview with Peace News for ZNet Matthew Alford, author of Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy, discusses the relationship between Hollywood and the US military-industrial complex:
PN: Why do the vast majority of Hollywood films routinely promote the United States as a benevolent force in world affairs and support the foreign policy of the US Government?
MA: Hollywood is a corporate media system akin to the news in that it is ostensibly free but nevertheless directed by strong factors that determine a pro-establishment line. These factors are: the concentrated ownership within Hollywood, which is owned by the same parent companies that own the news media; the prevalence of product placement and the general commercialised feel; the influence of the Department of Defense and the CIA, and the fact that if filmmakers do push radical political positions they tend to cause themselves a lot of problems (the Jane Fonda effect). Then there is the pervading ideology which says there is an ‘us’ and ‘them’, that America is good and benevolent with enemies throughout the world.
Matthew argues for a more engaged and pro-active response from audiences to films which promote imperialist ideology:
PN: What can concerned citizens and activists do to encourage films that are critical of US foreign policy?
MA: I think we should be primarily concerned about criticising films that encourage US foreign policy, rather than the other way around. We should actively oppose the most egregious, corporate-led, CIA/Department of Defense-backed movies through protest, boycott and criticism. If people also want to encourage anti-war films, then yes, that’s fine – they can make them and they can distribute them fairly easily through the web. One of the things that came out of the session [at the Rebellious Media Conference] was a whole range of activist ideas from the audience. For example, people were talking about calling up their local cinema to encourage certain films to be put on there. And yes I think if people are actively engaged in film rather than being passive consumers that will usually result in better products.
Visit ZNet to read the interview in full.
Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy
Matthew Alford. Foreword by Michael Parenti
Shows that, despite its reputation as a stronghold of left-liberal ideals, Hollywood is in fact deeply complicit in serving US political interests.
“This is a very timely book. The Hollywood myth is that its films are just ‘entertainment’. Far from it. The author shows that American industrial cinema propagates ideas favourable to its right wing establishment. Read this book before you see the next blockbuster.” – Ken Loach
“Formidable… absolutely fascinating.” – Tony Benn