The term ‘Crossover Cinema’ is used ‘to encapsulate an emerging form of cinema that crosses cultural borders at the stage of conceptualisation and production and hence manifests a hybrid cinematic grammar at the textual level, as well as crossing over in terms of its distribution and reception’ (Khorana, S 2013). From this definition, we can identify that a cross-cultural film provides insight into a different culture whilst also discusses wider issues that reach people of all cultures.
A great example of a successful crossover film that encapsulates this concept discussed, is the 2008 British drama, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ directed by Danny Boyle. This film gained much success on a global scale, overcoming the gap in audiences as well as cultural boarders, by offering a number of beliefs and cultural differences that westernised audiences are not accustomed to. Within Khorana’s (2013) article she discusses Slumdog Millionaire, claiming that it is “a classic crossover text,” and adding that the reading is not only “demonstrative of the situated knowledge theorised as being critical to a holistic consideration of crossover cinema, but it also shows that transnational appeal needs to be both globally and locally dispersed rather than invested in an elite Western milieu”.
Within the article ‘Crossover audiences in the aftermath of Slumdog Millionaire’, Khorana says that “in addition to the Bollywood tropes mentioned, the film uses a number of techniques associated with mainstream Hollywood cinema. According to Bordwell, these include adaptation, the double plotline, flashbacks, flashforwards, empathy, parallel editing and others ”(2010, p.3). We can further unravel this statement by adding that, because this film incorporates Indian culture as well as being filmed in India, that this does not automatically make it a Bollywood film, nor does it make it solely Hollywood as it incorporates many Americanised themes and techniques. From this, when we now think of a crossover film, we should therefore considered it in its own genre of film in order to distinguish it from films, which do not, fit into this classification.
The success Slumdog Millionaire achieved in the US box office, collecting up to roughly $140million, could arguably be due to the films adoption of westernised film techniques and Americanised themes. This in combination with British culture as well as Indian ideals, beliefs, helped them achieve popularity within the global film industry. This is reflected in Khorana’s reading (2013), as she states that “Crossover Cinema is unique in the way that it is not conventionally grounded in a single national/cultural/generic source”.
Another successful case of crossover cinema that is more close to home with us is our very own ‘The Sapphires’. Wayne Blair produced this Australian musical comedy – dram film, ideally marketed toward an international audience, premiering at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This film is loosely based on a true story, presenting ideals and beliefs in Aboriginal culture, in conjunction with many elements that cross over various cultures. This crossover film, not only looks at everything that comes with aboriginal identity, but also it highlights the racist attitudes present in Australian and Western society. Through using this cross culture technique, the film can then be understood and appreciated by a broad audience.
These two examples of crossover films that I have discussed are just two of the many successful cases of crossover cinema that has been produced to date. There will undoubtedly be many more successful crossover films that are due to come out in years to come.
Khorana, S 2013, ‘Crossover Cinema: A Conceptual and Genealogical Overview’, Crossover Cinema: Cross-cultural Film from Production to Reception, ed. S Khorana, New York: Routledge, pp. 3-13,
Higbee, W and Lim, S. H. 2010, ‘Concepts of transnational cinema: Towards a critical transnationalism in film studies’, Transnational Cinemas, 1(1), pp. 7-21,
Khorana, S 2010, ‘Crossover audiences in the aftermath of Slumdog Millionaire’, in E. Morrell & M. Barr (Eds.), Crises and Opportunities: Past, Present and Future, Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 5 – 8 July 2010, held at the University of Adelaide, Australia (pp. 1-10), Canberra, ACT: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA); The University of Adelaide,