By Unknown User

2019-03-10 10:01:45 8 Comments

What do foreign films mean for an American? Is it any film produced outside the US or any film from not English-language country (US, Canada, Australia, NZ, UK)?


@k1eran 2019-03-10 12:46:42

I doubt if an authoritative answer possible but one option is to refer to Wikipedia’s entry for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film:

The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the Academy Awards handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.

This assumes foreign film and foreign-language film used synonymously by most Americans.

@Unknown User 2019-03-10 14:03:30

What about the meaning in this context: << The weirdo also enjoys long walks on the beach and foreign films. >>

@Janus Bahs Jacquet 2019-03-10 14:41:35

@UnknownUser In that context, foreign almost certainly means foreign-language. A Canadian film would not fit that example – unless it’s from Quebec and in French, that is!

@k1eran 2019-03-10 15:54:31

@UnknownUser It’s better to add that clarification as an edit in the original question.

@chrylis 2019-03-11 04:08:50

The assumption is not warranted.

@RonJohn 2019-03-11 12:56:59

@UnknownUser the weirdo likes long walks on foreign films!

@Mark Foskey 2019-03-11 04:45:43

According to this site, Britain has a complicated set of standards for deciding which films are British enough to qualify for British awards. These can be joint productions with Hollywood, including movies like The Force Awakens that nobody in America thinks of as foreign films.

The fact is, if you're making a movie in English you have a shot at the entire, huge, English-language market. If your film has potential to be a blockbuster then it makes sense to seek Hollywood financing.

This is why "foreign film" is usually short for "foreign language film". The boundary between American and foreign films is blurred when the films are in English. When somebody says they like foreign films, they generally aren't talking about Chariots of Fire or Gandhi, even though those two films are wholly British and British/Indian, respectively.

@candied_orange 2019-03-10 13:55:57

Hollywood follows a formula. The primary allure of foreign films is that they don't follow this formula. An English dub over a foreign film might not be ideal but it doesn't stop it from being a foreign film. Bollywood films are so clearly from Bollywood. It's the same for Hollywood. To most Americans "foreign film" means: not another typical Hollywood movie.

@Mazura 2019-03-10 19:31:58

Excluding independent filmmakers, 'foreign films' aren't made in "Hollywood", +1

@GEdgar 2019-03-10 12:56:26

"Foreign films" are produced outside the US. "Foreign language films" are films primarily in a language other than English. Two different things.

I would also say that films with US production companies, but filmed in Canada (or Hungary, or ...) for financial reasons, will not be considered "foreign films".

@jamesqf 2019-03-10 23:25:42

I disagree. I don't think I would consider an English-language film made in Canada by Canadians to be a foreign film, though one in Quebcois French would be, even if the production company was American. Likewise I wouldn't think of British, Australian, &c as really foreign - but a Bollywood film in English would be. Or FTM one in Navajo. But that's just my opinion: I don't think there's a universal definition :-)

@David K 2019-03-11 05:22:27

@jamesqf I suppose some foreign films are more foreign than others. A Canadian film is a foreign film but you might not realize it if you see it in the US. For that matter, I can visit Canada from the US and barely be aware that I'm in a foreign country; but if I see a French film, or visit France, the foreignness (to me) is much more obvious.

@RedGrittyBrick 2019-03-11 08:57:42

Are any films produced in the USA in Spanish (38M US citizens have it as their primary language)?

@jamesqf 2019-03-11 18:31:08

@David K: I suppose that's the problem of working in a language where words often have multiple meanings. I'm using foreign in a cultural sense, rather than a political one. So Canada &c are culturally not that foreign to me, except for the accents, and those are no worse than me trying to understand people from New York or the Deep South :-)

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