When West meets East A Cultural Interpretation of the Film Anna and the King
Keywords:Anna and the King, Siam, cultural differences, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions
AbstractAnna and the King is a biographic film based on a 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam (Thailand), which gives a fictionalized account of the diaries of Anna Leonowens. The story concerns Anna, an English schoolteacher in Siam, now Thailand, in the late 19th century, who taught the King’s children in English and western sciences. The film vividly depicts the social and political life of Siam in the 1860s, and it is also filled with misunderstanding and confrontations of eastern and western cultures and thus igniting heated discussion on the cultural differences of East and West. The film has long been banned in Thailand, for the Thailand censors think its portrayal of their beloved King Mongkut was demeaning. This article does not intend to explore whether the film is based on facts or fictions, however, it takes the film as a discourse, and tends to interpret the cultural discourse based on four of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions: Power Distance (PDI)?Individualism(IDV) ?masculinity (MAS) and uncertainty avoidance (UAI).
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