UBC Theses and Dissertations
Hungary for America : interpreting the Hungarian encounter with American consumer culture through three narrative films Macdonald, Agnes
Through the analysis of three non-mainstream narrative films, this study examines the impact of 'Americanization' on the contemporary Hungarian imagination and experience. Gothâr's film Time Stands Still represents a vision of America in socialist Hungary, Jarmusch's Stranger than Paradise suggests a bridge between desire and reality in the Hungarian experience of the "American Dream" and the "American Way of Life," and Incze's I ♥ Budapest depicts a material and ideological realization of American culture in present day Hungary. This paper also intends to show how Hungary's active acceptance of capitalism has assured the flux and flow of American commodity culture along with its perceived worth. As America exports its culture worldwide, it manufactures desires in its materialistic representations and manifests those desires through the unmistakably American emblematic icons. Through an analysis grounded in contemporary cultural theoretical concepts, this study aims to explore the 'Americanization' thesis by looking at these iconic symbols of American consumer culture and how they are interpreted in these films. Film semiotics and subversive readings of the selected scenes provide the methodological framework of the study and help me locate my personal experiences with America. An engagement with some of the concepts of American consumer culture through these films, using Hungary as an illustrative case, furthers theories about global 'Americanization' and seeks to call for a radical critique of its worldwide effects and its impact on particular societies.
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