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On-line version ISSN 2617-3255
Print version ISSN 1021-1497


VILJOEN, Jeanne-Marie. Re-forming Hollywood's imagination: beyond the box office and into the boardroom. IT [online]. 2022, n.36, pp.1-17. ISSN 2617-3255.

Despite the commercial success of Black Panther (Coogler 2018) and its ostensible achievement of making Hollywood more representative of black people and "their" narratives, the film is limited in terms of the progress on inclusion it can achieve. This is because, as a Hollywood superhero film, its success is predicated upon perpetuating the colonisation of the imagination of its (still largely white) spectators and it does not represent black people on their own terms. A close focus on form exposes the film as retaining the spectacular and action-orientated visual language of Hollywood that engenders cinema as fundamentally voyeuristic and imperial. In this way, a close examination of Black Panther supports the examination of limits of what the commercial structure of an industry established upon the colonial gaze of spectacle is currently able to produce. This paper goes further and also argues that decolonisation in cinema should involve a more radical confrontation of Hollywood aesthetics and the formal language of Hollywood's gaze itself, so that the embodied visual languages of global cinema and New Black cinema may be more widely employed to reveal the world of those colonised by Hollywood as materially different, on their own terms. It is only by going beyond the success of films like Black Panther in the box office and through a radical investigation of form and haptic visuality that the considerably unequal structure of the Hollywood boardroom - which produces such films in the first place - may be transformed.

Keywords : Black Panther; embodiment; decolonisation; superhero film; Hollywood spectacle; haptic visuality; Hollywood gaze; New Black Cinema; global cinema.

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