Against screen quotas

France, Brazil, Pakistan, Mexico, China, and South Korea are among the countries that set screen quotas for their domestic films. An astute reader/blogger Tony referred me to the following Korean opinion piece, critical of such quotas. The English is at times choppy, but the author is on the mark:

What the screen quota system provides is a shelter without any competition. But it is an age-old truth that true competitiveness is only bred through competition. If the Korean movie industry really wanted the kind of international competitiveness that could take on Hollywood movies, it should break out of its protective shelter and meet the challenge straight in the eye. We will never see the day when our industry will leave behind the danger of being dominated by foreign movies if it keeps on being obsessed with the screen quota system.
Second, supporters of the screen quota system claim that it is the last bulwark protecting Korean culture. Who on earth bestowed the sacred duty of protecting the culture of Korea to the movie industry? Culture is the form of life that every one of us takes part in creating. It is found in our mountains and streams, our cities, our history, culture, art and crafts. This writer finds it hard to believe that the Korean culture has become more refined because a few domestic gangster movies outdid foreign movies at the box office.

The author asks why we should not have comparable quotas for womens’ fashion or for alcoholic drinks, both areas where Korean culture competes against foreign imports. The author also complains of the “the self-righteous and exclusivist advice of the French,” the whole (short) piece makes for lively reading.


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