Analyzing The Culture in East-West Movie (Восток-Запад)

Primary culture

            The movie viewed was East-West which was directed directed by Regis Wargnier. The movie feature two prominent Russian stars Sergei Bodrov Jr. and Oleg Menchikov as well as couple of French stars including Catherine Deneuve and Sandrine Bonnaire. The primary culture presented in this movie based in Hofstadter’s five value of dimension of culture is autocracy(Wargnier, 1999). This is witnessed by the fact that citizens are accustomed to abide by the rules and orders given by the seniors in the society other than following a more democratic ways. For example, after World War II, Stalin formed a propaganda that enticed Russians who had fled Soviet Union for one reason to another to return back and actively participate in rebuilding the Soviet Union. Many return with hope to prosper and this was witnessed with celebration signified by vodka toasts and singing of patriotic songs.

The celebrations was ended by grim reality of death as they disembark from the steamship. They were separated into two groups by the government troops and no one could dare challenge these actions because they were afraid of consequence(Hofstede, et al., 2010). For example, a Jew baby was separated from his father and as he tried to run to the side of his parents he was shot in the spot for defying orders to remain in the section he was directed. After the incident, no one from the Russian émigré attempted to challenge the action because they were afraid of consequences.

Individualist or collectivist

            The primary culture presented in the movie inclined towards individualist rather than collectivist. The fact that Russian émigré were separated into two group fit and unfit to mingle with the society was clear indication that Stalin was fostering his personal interest and any foreigner entering the country was suspected to be a spies or CIA agent. Another example was the fact that Maria tried all means to return to French in whichever way possible. She in fact put more efforts to train a swimmer so that she will get a chance escape when the swimmer attended the European championship(Phuong-Mail, et al., 2010). These actions indicated that the primary culture in the movie was fostering contractual relationship which revolved around the benefits of exchange. Stalin and Maria focused on the personal enjoyment, pleasures and fun over social norms and duties. Particularly, Maria was portrayed to have a notion of holding unique beliefs.

High or low power distance

            The primary culture is presented as high power distance. The leadership is authoritarian and the authority is centralized. For example, in the movie it was observed that the old woman who was comforting Marie and singing French song together was arrested and imprisoned for indulging with foreigner. Later, the old woman was reported death and the case was not natural. This example signifies a culture that the power is exercised in a more supervisory manner. The security forces always wanted to know what is going in the society(Wargnier, 1999). Another example observed was that drunkards, black marketers and New Socialist snoops were kept in shared cramped quarters. This would allow the authorities to easily monitor their activities. There was clear indication in the movie that after World War II Soviet Union was not allowing her citizens to exercise their freedom freely. The fact that Russian émigré were send to hard labor camp site in the country side and other were executed signifies a closed society where the authority rules with iron fist and dictatorship(Phuong-Mail, et al., 2010). In addition, it was observed that one lodger was given a responsibility of possessing all the keys to the letter boxes for all the tenants so that he regularly check letters and ascertained there origin and content.

High or low uncertainty

            The culture presented in the movie was high uncertainty. For example, Marie husband decided to disregard the miseries of his wife despite of high intensities and acted like a good soviet citizen in order to protect his family. Also, Alexei attempted to conscientiously impose a minimal health and safety standards in the factory, where the management were explicitly concern with optimal productivity(Wargnier, 1999). These observation indicated that Alexei was trying to avoid risks of colliding with the authority and at the same time attempting to make sure workers operate in the safe environment with minimal risks of getting injured. In addition, the culture presented showed that workers respect the authority of the day. It was also observed that the authority had no or minimal tolerance for the deviants. As a result, everyone was trying to avoid being caught in the wrong side of the law because they risk the execution or send to the hard labor camps in the country side.

Competitive or cooperative

            The culture presented in the movie was cooperative in the sense that the Russian citizens cooperated with the authority. However, in the part of Marie she questioned that actions of the authority and wanted to return back to France. The Russian authority was suspicious, repression abound and paranoia. As a result, the newcomers were abused and some send into the dreaded gulags or deaths(Hofstede, et al ., 2010). This made the citizens to cooperate with the authority and minimize the competition as much as possible. For example, military officer, a tyrannical swimming coach and hospital bureaucrat believed that Alexei and Marie were good people due to Alexei dedication and talent. However, a vicious secret police-officer was convinced that Marie was a spy and should be monitored always. This moral complexity that exist in the Russian authority clear indicated that some section of the workers in the authority believes that some Russian émigré were genuine and should be allowed to participate in rebuilding the nation. While some section were completely convinced that émigré were threat to the authority and should not be allowed to exercise their freedom.

Based on these observation one could say that although the society perceives that action taken on émigré was unjust but they have no option of questioning the authority or providing a competitive platform to change the authority(Wargnier, 1999). As a result, they opted to cooperate with the authority and protect their families and loved ones.

Long-term or short-term

            The culture represented in the movie is long-term orientation in the sense that Alexei was ready to persevere the mistreatment in order to protect his family. In the other hand, Marie was looking for a way to return to the France. As a result, the relationship of the couple suffered and fall out. Marie started a relationship with Sergei a young Russian who was also desperate to run away(Hofstede, et al., 2010). These examples indicated that movie represented a culture that is futuristic in the sense that Alexei was futuristic and possessed a dynamic mentality. In addition, he focused on persistence and perseverance despite the stress on thrift. Alexei was inclined towards interrelatedness represented in sensitivity toward social contacts.

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