Jenseits des Orientalismus
Misunderstandings appear to be one of those things which happen extremely often. We cannot judge our neighbour from across the street objectively, not to mention a stranger on the other side of the world. An equal dialogue between the cultures of the West and the East therefore hardly seems achievable. Following a thorough analysis of images of China and Tibet in European films from 1980 to 2010, I nevertheless found that an equal dialogue between the West and the East is not only possible but is also slowly being realised. The world does not stay still; Europe is changing. The research thus aimed to clarify in which direction the transformation of the European image of the Other is moving and to determine the new European attitude towards the Far East. As Greenblatt points out, the relationship between a work of art and the dominant ideology of the time in which it is produced is ambiguous. As becomes clear in the case of the European films from the period of 1980 to 2010, an orientalist colouring remains at the manifest level of cinematic texts. However, beyond this a creative rebellion is to be found on the latent level of the films. In other words, the basic function of the image of the Other in these films is not to allow Europe to become distinguished from the Other, but to build up a wide “imaginary community” of several cultures.