Exotic Cinema: Encounters with Cultural Difference in Contemporary Transnational Film

Research output: Book/ReportBook


A critical reassessment of the aesthetic strategies and cultural value of exoticism in contemporary transnational cinemas

Exotic Cinema is the first systematic analysis of decentred exoticism in contemporary transnational and world cinema. By critically examining regimes of visuality such as the imperial, the ethnographic and the exotic gaze, which have colonised our minds and ways of looking, Daniela Berghahn makes an important contribution to the urgent agenda of decolonising film studies.

Berghahn demonstrates that decentred exoticism’s aesthetic versatility and alluring alterity are uniquely relevant for understanding the transnational appeal of world cinema. She addresses prevalent controversies surrounding exoticism and illustrates that, in contemporary world cinema, it is utilised to draw attention to new ethical and socio-political goals. Global in scope and transnational in perspective, Exotic Cinema invites students and researchers to reassess this prominent mode of cultural representation.

• Offers an original, critical reappraisal of decentred exoticism in contemporary transnational and world cinema
• Includes eighteen case studies that are embedded in rich contextual detail and discussions of thematically similar films
• Brings exoticism into dialogue with cognate frameworks that conceptualise cross-cultural encounters, including primitivism, Orientalism,
cultural translation, cultural appropriation, cosmopolitanism and autoethnography, thereby shifting the terms of the debate into a direction that opens new lines of inquiry
• Analyses examples of global art, Indigenous and popular mainstream cinema from East Asia, India, South America, Canada, Australia, Europe and the US
• Comes with a companion website: www.exotic-cinema.org
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9781474474214
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • exoticism
  • aesthetics
  • postcolonialism
  • Otherness
  • exotic gaze
  • cultural difference
  • decolonisation
  • transnational cinema
  • world cinema

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