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Essay on Identity and Culture

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Every person, or group of people, has an identity and a culture. An ‘identity’ is the image that one project out into the rest of the world, and ‘culture’ is the image which one has of themselves. Countries are no exception; every country over their course of history has created an identity and culture for themselves. It has been said that the worst act one could perform on another would be to strip them of their identity, and deny them of their culture. This is why, in order for a country to become a great nation, their culture and identity must be formed so that it is able to strive. History and the changes made to history are two of the main things that could create the identity and culture of a country. The Canadian Film Industry, which may further be expanded to the media industry, is a fantastic example of how the history of something in a country can shape and influence the identity and culture of the country.

The history of the Canadian Film Industry allows us insight as to how the identity and culture of Canada were created. The first introduction of film into Canada was on June 27th, 1896, when there was a demonstration of the French ‘cinématographe’ in Montreal. It was the French Cinématographe which was the world’s first public view of moving pictures. These pictures were each only a few minutes long because technology was not yet advanced enough to make full length films. By the early 1900’s, permanent film theatres were built to showcase these short films. The film theatres became very popular, Jules and Jay Allen opened a chain of 53 of these theatres in 1923, which were later consumed by the American based Famous Players Company. When all of these short films came to Canada, they were mostly moving photograph...


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...920’s. However, these statements contain false assumptions. Some Canadians wanted to be a part of the American film industry, feeling like that would be their only chance to “catch a break” and pursue their dreams of being a film star. As Jeffrey Simpson states:

“Nobody knows how many young Canadian actors are scrounging around Los Angeles, because they come and go...fired by the idea that some day they, too, can be... some of the Canadian stars that light up Hollywood”. (STAR SPANGELD CANADIAN, 298)

Under the influence of the Canadian media, many Canadians feel that they are superior to Americans, even though it is the Canadians who are desperately trying to become like the Americans (STAR SPANGLED CANADIANS, 36). Other cultures witnessing this appearance of superiority over Americans could be what has greatly influenced Canadian identity to such an extent.



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