JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

1. In “Sex, Race Commodity and Film Fetishism in The Harder They Come," Kenneth Harris states that “the film was in fact produced for the purpose of selling records”(211).[return to page 1 of essay]

2. See Peter D. Fraser and Paul Hackett’s Caribbean Economic Handbook for an overview of how various governments within the Caribbean attempt to include the region in the “push” for globalization by essentially selling the islands (i.e., their environment, people, and culture) to corporations looking to globalize. For a more localized and “concrete” example, see Victoria Marshall’s “Filmmaking in Jamaica ‘Likkle but Tallawah,’” which includes an assessment of how the country’s attempts to draw foreign investors comes into conflict with attempts to develop and foster a domestic film industry.

3. A contrapuntal reading of The Harder They Come would examine the film as a product of social and cultural reality and question how the film might indeed participate in the colonial process, even without realizing that it does.

4. Central as it is to the study of Caribbean cultural products, this rangy, knotty problem has long been explored and in a number of ways. One powerful example is Mervyn Morris’s 1967 article “Some West Indian Problems of Audience.” There Morris quickly finds fault with both the Caribbean reading audience (in particular members of the region’s middle class), which Morris argues tends to be unsupportive of regional literary efforts, and those authors who choose to become exiles and who, even when they continue to write about the Caribbean, often write with a non-Caribbean audience in mind. More recent (and nuanced) analyses include selections from editor Humphrey A. Regis’s anthology Culture and Mass Communication in the Caribbean: D. Elliott Parris’s “The Reexportation of the Caribbean Literary Artist” and Bouziane Zaid’s “Bakhtin’s Dialogic Model and Popular Music: Bob Marley and the Wailers as a Case Study” explore the problem as it pertains to Anglophone Caribbean literature and reggae music, respectively.

5. Labeling Jamaica’s perception of itself (as opposed to the “Jamaica of the travel brochures”) as the “other Jamaica,” Hebdige avers that “anyone who has listened to the lyrics of songs recorded by Jamaican reggae artists like Jimmy Cliff or Bob Marley will already be familiar with this other Jamaica”(21).

6. In Cut ‘N’ Mix, Hebdige assesses the different types of Jamaican popular music, of which “reggae” is but one: “[…] ‘reggae’ referred to a particular phase in Jamaican pop music. There were many other phases, other slightly different rhythms before reggae, namely ska and rocksteady. And in recent years there have been a number of shifts--a number of new rhythms. All of these have been given names [...] by those closest to the Jamaican sound. But ‘reggae’ is the word that’s stuck as far as the wider public is concerned. It has come to stand for virtually all forms of popular music in Jamaica”(45).

7. In “Unsettling the Empire: Resistance Theory for the Second World.”

8. In “Figures of Colonial Resistance.”

9. While Bordwell is well known for developing this approach, clear echoes of it occur in the work of others. One example is cognitive theorist James Peterson’s Dreams of Chaos, Visions of Order, in which Peterson relies upon heuristics to account for strategies viewers use while “making sense” of U.S. avant-garde cinema.

Works cited

Barrett, Leonard E. The Rastafarians: The Dreadlocks of Jamaica. Kingston, Jamaica: Sangster’s Book Stores, 1977.

Bordwell, David. Narration in the Fiction Film. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.

Burton, Julianne. “The Harder They Come: Cultural Colonialism and the American Dream.” Jump Cut 6 (1975): 5-7.

Callenbach, Ernest. “The Harder They Come.” Film Quarterly 27:2 (1973-1974): 59-60.

Camby, Vincent. “Those Films Which Refuse to Fade Away.” Movie Review. The New York Times July 14th 1974, sec. 1: 11.

Cudjoe, Selwyn Reginald. Resistance and Caribbean Literature. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1980.

Fraser, Peter D., and Paul Hackett. Caribbean Economic Handbook. 1st ed. London: Euromonitor Publications, 1985.

Harris, Kenneth. “Sex, Race Commodity and Film Fetishism in The Harder They Come.” Ex-Isles: Essays on Caribbean Cinema. Ed. Cham, Mbye B. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1992. 211-19.

Hebdige, Dick. Cut ‘N’ Mix: Culture, Identity, and Caribbean Music. London: Routledge, 1997.

Marshall, Victoria M. “Filmmaking in Jamaica ‘Likkle but Tallawah’.” Ex-Isles: Essays on Caribbean Cinema. Ed. Cham, Mbye B. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1992. 98-105.

Morris, Mervyn. “Some West Indian Problems of Audience.” English 16 94 (1967): 127-31.

Parris, D. Elliott. “The Reexportation of the Caribbean Literary Artist.” Culture and Mass Communication in the Caribbean: Domination, Dialogue, Dispersion. Ed. Regis, Humphrey A. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001. 95-119.

Peterson, James. Dreams of Chaos, Visions of Order: Understanding the American Avant-Garde Cinema. Contemporary Film and Television Series. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1994.

Saïd, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. 1st Vintage Books ed. New York: Vintage, 1994.

Sharpe, Jenny. “Figures of Colonial Resistance.” Modern Fiction Studies 35.1 (Spring 1989): 137-155.

Slemon, Stephen. “Unsettling the Empire: Resistance Theory for the Second World.” World Literature Written in English 30.2 (Fall 1990): 30-41.

Snead, James A. “Shirley Temple.” White Screens, Black Images : Hollywood from the Dark Side. Ed. MacCabe, Colin and Cornel West. New York: Routledge, 1994. 47-66.

The Harder They Come. 1972. DVD. Criterion, 2000. Dir. Perry Henzell.

Zaid, Bouziane. “Bakhtin’s Dialogic Model and Popular Music: Bob Marley and the Wailers as a Case Study.” Culture and Mass Communication in the Caribbean: Domination, Dialogue, Dispersion. Ed. Regis, Humphrey A. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001. 139-48.


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