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Shiva Leicht

Sprache im Film / Language in Film

Ein Phänomen, leicht zu übersehen / A Phenomenon easy to neglect

ISBN: 978-3-86815-741-3

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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: Igel Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum: 10.2020
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 144
Sprache: Deutsch
Einband: Paperback


Wofür steht Sprache im Film? … Für Verführung ( Wege des Herrn ), Identität und Widerstand ( Black Panther ), Grenzen der Kommunikation mit den/dem Anderen ( Intra Machina , Star Trek u.a.), schlechte Übersetzung am Rande der Zensur ( Starship Troopers ) und für politische und religiöse Manipulation ( Game of Thrones , The Handmaid’s Tale ).


Textprobe: The Hero’s Journey: Wakandan Myth and Black Panther Black Panther, the highest grossing film of 2018, is history making in many ways. It is the first superhero film nominated for Best Picture Oscar. It was released at a time when Black Americans, and people of African descent in general, still struggle as they speak out against centuries of rights denied and at a time when a sitting president of an industrialized nation insults an entire continent (Kendi, 2019). However, the superhero is not the only fully-formed character in the film. The women of Wakanda, the fictional nation where Vibranium powers technology and research, rescue their leader, the Black Panther, and their country, with their brains, their brawn, and their loyalty to Wakanda. The warriors of Wakanda, including the self-isolating Jabaris, eventually realize they must unite in order to prevent the riches of Wakanda from being used in a zero-sum struggle to overturn centuries of oppression via military might in one violent grab for power. Even the perspective of the anti-hero, Erik Killmonger, reveals a logic and humanity underlying his drive and striking absence of empathy. Racial injustice and violence in America, combined with Wakandan isolationism, fuels Killmonger’s rage at his early personal loss and damaged view of global power and race. The transition from comic book to big screen presents a successful transformation of Wakanda itself. By the end of the film, Wakanda faces its legacy and its debt to the world and sheds its self-serving and hypocritical pretense of third world nation. Wakanda comes of age in a world of risk, but a world where integrity and honesty can better serve the world’s struggling people, where great inequalities exist in first-world and third-world nations. Black Panther is timely, tackling race and gender at a time of global wokeness. It is full of heroic actions, superhero powers, and science fantasy technology. The music, the visuals, and the action sequences carry the audience along. The acting seamlessly presents believable characters who might have turned cartoonish or indulgent. Instead, they shine (Travers, 2018). They are all multidimensional and thinking, reflecting, interacting beings. The audience is transported to a world more real than the black mirror. It adores its warriors, admires its king, and even weeps for the villain. Much has already been written about this epic film, in which superhero action adventure becomes art: It is recognized for evoking a haunting emotional response (Henderson, 2018), for its political timeliness, and for breaking the binary on good and evil, on gender-roles, and on race (Dargis, 2018). Afrofuturism becomes real Wakanda is what might have happened if Western Civilization had not built its wealth on slavery. While the El Dorado of Vibranium-rich Wakanda is unrealistic, many aspects of multi-cultural techno-driven Wakanda are not. This is one factor that draws viewers into Black Panther, not the power of the herb-transformed king, nor the super-charged action sequences or car chases. Why does the Afrofuturistic world of Wakanda speak so deeply to its audience? Authenticity. While the film adheres to many superhero Hollywood conventions, it presents a culture with its origin story intact and in which the hero’s journey is real (Campbell, 2008 Donat, 2003). While not perfect, Wakanda seems real. Its authenticity comes from many sources. Clearly, the careful casting, the award-winning production and costume design ( Black Panther Awards, 2019 Watercutter, 2019) and the inclusive and forward-looking music score (Burlingame, 2018 Pearce, 2018) play a role. Two features of Black Panther that contribute to this authenticity are myth and language. The film has a double opening, one myth and another, a hard reality. First, a Wakandan child, presumably T’Challa, the future Black Panther, asks his Baba about his people. The discovery of the powers of Vibranium, and the power it gives to the first Black Panther, lead the people of the region to develop a culture that explores its properties. The different tribes coalesce into Wakanda, with an uneasy association with one outlier group, the Jabari, who embrace Hanuman instead of Bast, the panther goddess. These borrowings from global cultures resonate well. The Black Panther essentially becomes an avatar of Bast, the Egyptian goddess who defends the pharaoh. The Jabaris’ affiliation with Hanuman reflects their cultural isolation from other Wakandans except in extreme need, but also aligns with the trickster features of M’Baku, their present leader, and his loyalty to Wakanda, even after generations of isolation in the snow country of the mountains of Wakanda. Drawing on world religions and mythologies, Wakanda’s culture recognizes features of donor cultures as it builds its own creation myth centered on the appreciation of Vibranium as a gift, referred to as isipho in Xhosa-inspired Wakandan. The Wakandan creation story has elements of the Garden of Eden. Men become aware of who they are and their possibilities after eating the special flower. It represents knowledge, as does the fruit eaten by Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Its special powers also suggest the fruit of the Tree of Life, which Adam and Eve are prevented from eating, lest they become more god-like and evade death. The Black Panther is not immortal, but very nearly so, as the plant heals the king and all who come into contact with its special properties. However, instead of being driven out of Eden by their special knowledge of this powerful plant, the people of Wakanda harness the source of the plant’s power, Vibranium, to create a world where knowledge and prosperity is extended to all within the dome protecting this Utopia from the outside world.

Über den Autor

Markus Pohlmeyer: Dichter, Essayist und Autor bei CulturMag/CrimeMag, lehrt an der Europa Universität-Flensburg Katholische Theologie und im Studiengang Kultur-Sprache-Medien. Janice Jake is Chair of the English Department at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, SC. Her research interests lie in language contact, especially codeswitching. Dr. Jake’s research focuses on extending the principles of the Matrix Language Frame Model (Myers-Scotton, Duelling Languages, 1993) and the 4-M Model of morpheme classification (Jake and Myers-Scotton, The 4-M model: Different routes in production for different morphemes,” Adamou and Matras, eds., in press) to other contact phenomena, such as language acquisition (Jake, Constructing Interlanguage,” Linguistics 36(2), 1998), pidgin and creole linguistics, and the intersection of socio- and psycholinguistics in contact phenomena (Myers-Scotton and Jake, Cross-linguistic asymmetries in code-switching patterns: implications for bilingual language production,” 2015, in Schwieter, ed.).

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