Culture in Film: Part 2

The second part of Culture in Film is on time travel and the cultural clash between time periods.  Many time travel films involve someone from the past who time travels to the future.  Hilarity often ensues when they can’t figure out modern devices and walk around in their historic clothing.  While most of these films are comedies and the seeming stupidity of the time travelling character gets a lot of laughs, there seems to be more than meets the eye.  Time travel is an extreme example but it can draw similarities to someone’s cross-cultural experience.  When we are in another country, we may find ourselves feeling as if we have traveled to another time and place.  Here’s why: 

1) Lack of familiarity with customs.  In a new environment it’s often difficult to understand what people are doing and why they are doing it.  This then makes it difficult for us to know what we’re supposed to do and how we’re supposed to react in various situations.

 2) Lack of familiarity with the physical environment.  It’s easy for us to take for granted the things around us and our knowledge of how to use them.  In a new culture some things are so drastically different that it may make taking care of basic needs a daily struggle.

3) We look different.  From (outdated) clothes to gestures or even hair to skin colour, depending on where you go, people can immediately notice that you’re different.

4) We’re misunderstood.  Not only do people not understand us and our home culture, they also don’t understand the experience we’re going through being in the new culture/time period.

5) We speak differently.  Whether it’s an accent, a different language or an archaic way of speaking, it’s easy to identify a foreigner by the way they speak.

The photos above are from the following films:
Black Knight
Just Visiting
Kate and Leopold


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