Brussels, June 4, 2020 (SIGNIS). The first encounter with Asian cinema had a big impact on OCIC/SIGNIS own culture as in the world in general. Quite quickly, the organization found out that one had to speak about “the cinemas” of Asia, which considerably nuanced stereotypes and stories about their continent and its inhabitants spread by western cinema.
During the first decades after their countries’ independence, Indian and Pakistani cinema became popular with most Asians and Africans and their diaspora spread throughout the world. These films were not based on the Judeo-Christian culture. They speak through images reflective of the human condition of the majority of the world’s population for which this culture was and continues to be absent for the most part. OCIC/SIGNIS has discovered in them values and ways of life which are profoundly spiritual.
On the one hand, these films also raised questions about the representation of people in a cinema dominated by the West and for some, it is a proof that colonization, although cultural, is still very present. On the other hand, through their art, their stories and images, many of these films contribute to the humanization of Asia and to a better understanding of this continent and its inhabitants which has long been demonized and dehumanized.
They are important, like every human cultural expression, not only for their own people but also for others. Through their inspiration and their cinematographic quality, they contribute to spiritual progress and to the development of human values and contribute to the world of cinematographic culture. Today, SIGNIS members, especially in Asia, are well aware of this.
Magali Van Reeth
SIGNIS Publications available at http://www.signisasia.net/publications/