Today's date:
Spring 1999

Hollywood: An Oscar for Misinformation

Lord Puttnam, the Oscar-winning British producer of such films as Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields and Midnight Express, was also chairman of Columbia Pictures from 1986 to 1988. David Puttnam is also author of Movies and Money (Knopf, 1998) and is an advisor on education to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Editor's Note - A thought to consider when reading Lord Puttnam's article: Roberto Benigni, the star, producer and director of the Italian film Life Is Beautiful won an Oscar for "best actor."

This, perhaps, suggest a new turn for Hollywood and American mass culture. As American entertainment becomes globalized, both in its audience and its talent, is it becoming a cultural "clearinghouse" of content from across the world rather than an American product?

This was also true during the Hellenistic Age. Athens itself ceased to become the main creator of culture in its domain, but instead became the linguistic and cultural through which new ideas from across the Hellenistic zone of influence were brought to the attention of the world.

London - Given the dominance of the American film industry - even if once in a while a European film like Life Is Beautiful breaks through - we ask ourselves every year at Oscar time whether it really possible for Europeans or others in the world to create their own culture of the moving image, a culture built around an alternative set of ambitions.

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