Performing Exoticism and the Transnational Reception of World Cinema

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This article examines why exoticism is central to thinking about the global dynamics of world cinema and its transnational reception. Offering a theoretical discussion of exoticism, alongside the closely related concepts of autoethnography and cultural translation, it proposes that the exotic gaze is a particular mode of aesthetic perception that is simultaneously anchored in the filmic text and elicited in the spectator in the process of transnational reception. Like world cinema, exoticism is a travelling concept that depends on mobility and the crossing of cultural boundaries to come into existence. The visual pleasure afforded by exotic cinema’s sumptuous style is arguably the chief vehicle that allows world cinema to travel and be understood, or misunderstood, by transnational audiences who are potentially disadvantaged by a hermeneutic deficit of culturally specific knowledge when trying to understand films from outside their own cultural sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalStudies in World Cinema
Early online date31 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2021


  • exoticism
  • world cinema
  • transnational reception
  • transnational cinema
  • cultural difference

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