10.4185/RLCS-2016-1097en | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS # 71 | 2016 | |
European cinema in the languages
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In his study Quebec National Cinema,Bill Marshall (2001) points out that “Nation and Identity are ever provisional, historically contingent, ceaselessly elaborated constructions, and yet at some level they are inescapable” (2001: 2). By invoking these notions of provisionality, contingency, construction in a permanent process of elaboration, unavoidable reality, Marshall invites us to discover the reasons why the binomial “national cinema” – a concept so apparently paradoxical in these times of globalisation – becomes a subject worthy of special interest. The fact is that far from describing a clear and well-defined object of investigation, the notion of national cinema itself represents a problem, a space in which to study new dilemmas, beginning with the very suitability of the term.
Thus, asks Marshall, in a scenario of transnationalistion and globalisation, does it make sense to choose the nation (in this as in other cases, “stateless nation”) as a point of departure for analysing film? How can we theorise the relationship between text and context, between meaning or symbolic production and material practice or production?
In attempting to advance in this endeavour, Marshall pauses to consider an idea of Fredric Jameson (1986) about the way in which allegories are structured in the literature of the so-called “Third World”, where the personal is inevitably communal and where breaching the limits is revealed in the multiple polysemy of dreams much more than in the homogenous representation embodied in the symbolic. Here we would add, in agreement with the notation of cinemas displaced from the system’s heavy machinery, the reflection that Deleuze and Guattari (1998) make in their predilection for a “minor literature” based on their programmatic analysis of Kafka, that in them everything assumes a political and collective value. This in a certain sense is what we attempt to draw attention to by connecting the three objects expelled from the decision about their own role: small nations (with or without state), minority or minoritised languages, and cinema as a good in which culture expresses itself.
The first step of differentiation to guide an understanding of our undertaking is precisely what to call this complex element, which we recognise in the works of different authors as “national cinema/communal cinema”. This definition can then be used to open the frontiers beyond towards a meaning that moves away from the traditional canon that has accompanied European cinema. This canon that was the subject of an entire issue of the Fonseca Journal of Communication  in which other designations came to light, such as those of identity cinema or sub- and post-national cinema. Our point of departure is an unusual category: the use of non-hegemonic languages, stateless languages, languages in diglossic situations.
2. Methodological issues
The nation as a socio-communicative space (Schlesinger, 2000) together with the claim by Elsaesser that “with the shift from Classical Film Studies to Cultural Studies, the idea of the “nation” once more became a focus of critical framing, almost on a par with class and gender” (2005: 63)] suggest the need for a revision of the scholarly literature, from Higson to Duncan Petrie, Mette Hjort, Bergfelder, Christie or Isabelle Le Corff, in order to arrive at a critical understanding of the current state of cinema in “minor languages” with view to determining its discursive and geopolitical specificity.
Consistent with this and the objective we have set ourselves in the project “Towards the European Digital Space: the role of small cinemas in original version” (ref. CSO2012- 35784), is the mapping and identification of new visions; localising aspects symptomatic of recent policies, whether at a European, national or local level, and contrast these with practice using a number of case studies.
Given that we are working within a changing landscape and with the meaning acquired when an object becomes visible, in this case cinema in minority and/or minoritised languages, we are dealing with recurring categories in every single text about the politics of diversity, categories that serve as indicators not only for the analysis of certain documents and formal pronouncements but also as a way of recognising variables that allow us to venture a prospective diagnostic case should one or other of the pieces in the puzzle change.
In this way, we find ourselves in an unequal institutional framework and among certain vectors derived from the application (or omission) of commitments intended to correct situations of inequality: 1992, European Charter for Languages; 2005, UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions; 2011, Declaration of the Spanish Senate on co-official languages, to arrive in 2014 at the “Creative Europe” programme, a forum in which hesitant steps are taken towards attributing a specific role to this weak link from perspective of the dominance of the market, the cinema of small nations and/or stateless nations.
When it comes to studying in depth the evolution of thought in this field, the first obstacle encountered within the academic environment is also the most natural and coincides with the frontier which, overshadowed by functionalist taxonomies, leads nowhere. That is why it was not difficult for a young scholar, Antía Pereira (2014), determined to make this “other cinema” visible, to demonstrate the uselessness of these taxonomies from the tradition of Cultural Studies and confirm that the adoption of a model that assimilates State with Country for production purposes creates a problem when there are two co-official languages in which one has the status of minorised language. This is simply because the hegemonic language tends to be the most widely used. In this respect, the way to counter discrimination against a particular language in cinema is not only to vindicate films in original version but also to establish the right not to be dubbed, a right that can be traced from the politics of subtitling and in the elusive way in which it has been adopted in European texts until very recently.
Despite the fact that academic works have become used to using the framework of the nation-state as a reference until the point of making it an established value, this framework (as Jameson might say) started to break down when cases and situations began to emerge which were difficult to reconcile with it. The cracks that appeared have been filled by different proposals of knowledge that enrich the field of debate with new tools of analysis, among which is the stateless nation:
[Deustch] observed that the nation-state was ‘still the chief political instrument for getting things done’ (…) Without expressly naming it, the theory therefore entertains an idea –that of ‘the nation without state’– Which has become increasingly significant of late both as an analytical category and as a political project aimed at redefining the autonomy of national groups within the existing international system of states (Schlesinger, 2000: 19-20).
Since scholars agree in recognising as the point of departure in this debate the article by Andrew Higson in Screen, 1989, “The concept of National Cinema”, a text in which he recommends a “more inward-looking process, exploring the cinema of a nation in relation to other already existing economies and cultures of that nation state” (1989: 38), it is interesting to give consideration to the following question: what is the point of a national cinema if there isn’t a national audience? When he returns to the subject of audience, Higson, fully aware that the economy is international and that cinema is overdetermined by Hollywood, is compelled to forget the monolithic British public to think instead in terms of class, race, gender and, to use his own terms, “regional differences”.
Thus, cinema, understood as part of cultural expression and the apparatus for the production of goods, becomes a problematic subject which needs to be contemplated from the perspective of politics, from the systems of distribution and exhibition, not to mention representation and reception, oppositions that we find reflected both in the concern for the audience and the notoriety sought by taking part in festivals, for example.
Naturally Higson could not be absent from the collection entitled The cinema of small nations (Hjort&Petrie, 2007). This takes stock of the evolution of this early phase in academic thought and, following the observation made by Philip Meers about the work, advocates a more nuanced analysis of an entire series of small national cinemas and proposes certain models that at the same time aid in understanding the persistence of the [conventional] nation in various transnational constellations, while also using other terms alongside those of “international”, “regional” and “global”, which are not usually taken into account and which this author calls “sub-national”.
Before reaching this juncture, beyond its symbolic, economic and sociocultural value, a number of authors analyse cinema as an operator of identity and, symptomatic of a new vision, return to texts such as that of Colin MacArthur, “In Praise of a poor Scottish Cinema”, published in Sight & Sound in 1993. Duncan Petrie (2005) later retrieved the piece in the introduction to the special issue of Screen on Scottish cinema. Moreover, other classifications appear in the academic literature, such as those proposed by Stephen Crofts as “regional or national cinemas whose culture and/or language take their distance from the nation-states which enclose them” (2006: 45).
The variants around small and stateless nation are gradually acquiring the character of rehearsal stage for aspects that have been ignored until now. To explain the reasons (ideological and political) behind this opaqueness, scholars feel obliged to defend their positions. Such is the case with Thomas Elsaesser (2013) of the University of Amsterdam, who discerns different attitudes towards cultural identity, ranging from the post-national vision of the filmmakers of central Europe and those who prefer to reinvent their cinema as “national”. Elsaesser also notes that this nationalism is highly reflexive and that it calculates how to attract ‘the eye of the other’, making it comparable to diverse regional, territorial or ethnic movements that claim a differentiated cinematographic identity within the context of western Europe.
Anthony Smith (2004) in turn draws our attention to history and memory (including their myths) and their manifestation in (1) elements of shared culture, (2) territory and (3) language. By stressing the importance of the nation, Smith links it to some of the communal actions that constitute the nation itself and which remind us of Anderson (1983: 50) when he writes that open-ended sentence: “It is imagined as a community, because regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship”.
4. Variables with productive value
Following on from the above, three new variables began to gain ground in the field of cinema studies: (1) stateless nations and small nations as a category of analysis and as a political territory; (2) languages (minority or minoritised); (3) cinema as an operator in the reconstruction of imagined communities (Anderson, 1983), as an element with communal value. Indeed, this realisation is symptomatic of the fact that in a landscape presented to us as global and connected, the revenge of cultures – as Armand Mattelart might say – overwhelms universalist thought and is transformed into an act of counter-hegemony within the neoliberal system. In line with the broadening of previous taxonomies to include national (not state) cinema, in order to understand diversity as a political right, not just a moral one, which is to say as the right to demand resources so that it can be put into practice , critical thought has learned not to let down its guard and to monitor the methodological distortion of certain a priori assumptions.
Similarly, cinema expands towards certain post-national or transnational situations in which processes and the recognition of difference go together (Bacon, 2013), without losing sight of what we might call the pre-national situation, based on the possibility that cinema “can also become ‘national’ in the sense of speaking for the nation at moments of political crisis and liberation” (Christie, 2013: 29). In analysing the route taken to obtain a certain cultural hegemony within each nation-state by referring to “internal cultural colonialism” (1989: 46) and arguing in general that this occurred at the expense of repressing internal differences, the tensions and contradictions (of class, gender, race, region, etc.), Higson’s seminal work itself recognises implicitly the right to reply that, in this case, finds expression in cinema in original version.
We could interpret Elsaesser (2015) in this very sense when he points towards the “national” as relational depending on who is the observer, where they are observing from and the institution involved; the national as part of a process with cultural and political objectives, or Isabelle Le Corff (2013) in her introduction with Martin Barnier to the special issue “Le cinéma européen et les langue”, when noting that, while the impact of languages on heritage remains an unexplored field, “une telle multiplicité est l’une des particularités de l’espace européen qui s’oppose en cela à l’autre grand centre de production cinématographique occidental, l’Amérique du Nord” [such multiplicity is one of the distinctive features of the European space as opposed to the other main centre of western film production, North America] (Le Corff&Barnier, 2013).
In the shift from the acceptance of national cultures (regardless of whether or not they have a state) as plural and intercultural to the view of the heterogeneous and broadened nation incorporating the diaspora, the transformation in thought can also be discerned in this variant of cinema as heritage. For example, Belén Vidal (2012), who, in the wake of Robert Burgoyne, works on the notation Heritage Film Nation in the juxtaposition of old and new, not as an imaginary world but as something that once existed and is connected with the construction of a collective memory and foundational myths, when she deals with Englishness as the norm she recognises explicitly that this is at the cost of Scottish, Welsh or Irish cinema.
When we start to move towards more eclectic positions, we find ourselves on the shaky ground described by Tim Bergfelder (2005) in “National, transnational or supranational cinema? Rethinking European film studies”, an article which advocates a relational reading between geographical-cultural centres and margins while at the same time outlining the migratory movements between both extremes. Through these interactions, Bergfelder proposes a history of European cinema instead of a history of various cinemas in Europe, but –and here lies the rub– he still points out
the affirmation of the national appears to be more pronounced and urgent in countries which feel beleaguered in their political or cultural identity, and in countries which see themselves as either economically excluded or culturally independent from the developments of central and Western Europe (2005: 319).
Even from a conventional perspective and from the type of question posed by a text such as that of Christie “Where is national cinema today (and we still need it)?” (2013), still preserving the European space and established nation-states in the horizon, the author goes on to look for examples in an institution such as the Cannes Festival to draw attention in the following terms to what he calls the complex message issuing forth from small countries: “We belong to a wider production and exhibition community, which is resisting the bland global culture delivered everywhere in multiplexes. And to do so, we assert local specificity, while entering into coproduction treaties and participating in such multinational initiatives as the MEDIA Programme and Euroimages” (2013: 28). Finally, to answer his initial question, Christie contends that nations remain the primary frame of reference and that when “indigenous production” is significant, both economically and politically, it should be accorded the weight it deserves.
The same question can be transposed to small nations. Uruguay became one of these in a study of Control Z, its most well-known independent producer at an international level. The South American country became the subject of an interesting mechanism of self-erasure of any sign of identity in the film Gigante (A. Biniez, 2009) as studied in the paper “Uruguay disappears: Small cinemas, Control Z Films and the aesthetics and politics of auto-erasure”, presented by Montañez and Martin-Jones at the International Conference on Nuevas perspectivas sobre la transnacionalidad del cine hispánico [New perspectives on transnationality and Hispanic cinema] published in Cinema Journal in 2013. Control Z Films allows us to show, the paper’s authors argue, the way in which the international markets can or do impact on so-called small national cinemas, particularly those that do not have a national iconography that is immediately recognisable internationally (to the extent that the nation effectively “disappears” from the image).
Having described this landscape as traversed by different academic literature(s) dealing with the controversial binomial “national cinema”, we shall now analyse different examples of its practical application, both at the European political level and locally, by looking at three variants of small cinema: Finland, Wales and Galicia.
5. Diversity as strategy
Our next task is to address, within the framework of recent EU strategy, the convergence of cinematic and linguistic issues. A possible principle (in both sense of the word) for this convergence can be identified: a specific origin and an ideology of a political and economic nature driven by the European Commission, which essentially defines a model of centrifugal development for the European Union driven by peripheral economic and sociocultural systems. Thus the model entails a concept of diversity – social, cultural, linguistic – that reflects this. All of this can be found in the study entitled Euromosaic. The production and reproduction of the minority language groups in the European Union, funded by the European Commission and published exactly twenty years ago in 1996. Its defined objectives were to describe the linguistic panorama in Europe, raise awareness of the existence of minority languages, and promote their teaching and learning, all of these being the prerequisites for the survival of such languages. Nonetheless, beyond this operative function recognisable in the report’s summary to identify, teach and learn other languages, Euromosaic set out in its profound structure a revealing ideology of the project of EU unity, a reticle lacking a control centre and operated by peripheral networks.
Its explicit point of departure states: “The essential issue that we are addressing in this section is one of establishing the relevance of a diversity that is based upon language, for the process of European development and integration without falling into the trap of the modernist thrust of development through cultural homogeneity (Euromosaic, 1996). But what precise form does this statement of intention take? The report takes for granted the permanence of a single market, this is the reference context, an integrated context upon whose foundations a new model of development is to be built, which translates into an economy with a decentralised network based on local initiatives that take advantage of the resources of sociocultural diversity as well as transnational cooperation. In other words, we are dealing with a model of integral European growth since it involves different components of the local economy as a whole. These components would not consist of material but human resources, for example: knowledge, creativity, innovation, organisations, etc. Indeed in this model of systems the existence of small sociocultural networks constitutes in turn the pillar of multidirectional economic transactions, which are fed, at the same time as they drive it, by the system of innovation.
Note that the adoption of the model of networks excludes the preservation of traditional frontiers, once the guarantee of the conditions of the geographical permanence of European nation-states; rather, every initiative originating within the model or with its support requires assuming a principle of political and economic integration and a systematic relationship among a diverse community based on fundamental principles of communication. “Different skills and cognitive frames” [Diferentes destrezas y marcos cognitivos] (Euromosaic, 1996), this is the exact concept of diversity promoted in this model. At issue is reconciling the sociocultural dimension of the network and the economic dimension in a wider sense to the degree that the quality of internal ties, the structures of cooperation traversed by the linguistic reality, between local agents, are recognised as essential for innovation and development (Hingel, 1993). Here, then, is the mode in which the diversity of skills and initiatives for innovation is expected to be taken advantage of, which in turn denies the possibility of a single and universal system of innovation. Finally, at issue is a model of development based on integration oriented from within one’s own networks, directly tied to the capacity for innovation in regions and local communities, by which we can conclude that in the EU proposal “what achieves priority in this part of the argument is the importance of Diversity” (Euromosaic, 1996).
6. EU audiovisual policy (2014-19)
Having outlined the general strategy of European development, we will now examine the mode in which the specific object of our study, the current model of film policy, has been determined. On 1 April 2015, the Committee on Culture and Education presented to the European Parliament its Report on European film in the digital era (2014/2148 (INI)), one of the last documents to issue from the European Digital Agenda, itself part of the Creative Europe framework, and which, to reiterate, allows us to distinguish a model of development in current film policy which is still in force. Thus, the Creative Europe Programme is presented in this report, with partiular attention given to its budget: EUR 1,500 million for the 2014-20 period, of which more than half is earmarked for the MEDIA subprogramme. This latter is specifically entrusted with subsidising the development of cinema in a broad sense, especially its distribution, as well training and innovation seminars, all aimed at preserving the ultimate objective of European cultural and linguistic diversity.
We would similarly highlight in the report its first recital because, consistent with Creative Europe, it attributes to the activity of film the dual status of an economic and cultural good, and thus a good that can be ascribed to both commercial and sociocultural networks, formerly defined. Just as cinema contributes to growth and employment, it also shapes and consolidates European idenities: “whereas films are goods that are both cultural and economic and contribute greatly to the European economy in terms of growth and employment whilst helping shape European identities by reflecting cultural and linguistic diversity, promoting European cultures across borders and facilitating cultural exchange and mutual understanding among citizens, as well as contributing to the formation and development of critical thinking” (Committee on Culture and Education, 2015).
However, even when the cinematic question completely meets the expectations of this development model, an entire series of exceptional circumstances would appear to prevent it working satisfactorily in economic terms and, from the perspective of the European Union as whole at least, in sociocultural terms as well. This manifests itself specifically in a limited distribution of European film within the EU, which is reflected in relatively low audience numbers compared to the intense international competition. This limitation can be seen outside Europe as well. Finally, it can also be seen in the low degree of promotion, although this is still extremely relevant for Member States with minority languages. The proposed solution includes financing the distribution and circulation of films from other European countries, increasing audiences and media literacy, and increasing access to legal audiovisual content, which manifests itself in the objective of generating trust in the internet, a fundamental component in the sustainability of the single digital market. This represents the subtle drift of the model in a network of interconnected peripheral systems towards this new model of tributaries feeding a central European artery, and it is likely in this variant of the model that we can find a response to the commercial dysfunctionality of the films distributed and exhibited in original version originating in small- and medium-sized countries, to use the EU expression.
In this sense, returning to the report, the framework of proposed solutions includes developing, to an even greater extent if possible, the cross-border portability of audiovisual services, taking into account the rapid increase in online transactions, and thus allowing access to films regardless of where the spectator is located. At the same time, however, the need to guide this marketing is mentioned, taking into account the cultural particularities of European audiences. This serves to establish a bias of a cultural nature in cross-border circulation, which in fact refers to the development model set out in 1996. This clearly demonstrates the rushed nature in many cases, as well as provisional in others, of European policy. Nonetheless, it should be added that this EU proposal [to increase] the availability of films in original version and original version with subtitles becomes an unrenounceable and irreplaceable option while guaranteeing the success of cross-border circulation that it intends to supply, as well as a cultural objective, since at issue is the only means of acquiring knowledge of European cultural and linguistic diversity de facto. Yet the actual concept of the MEDIA subprogramme, which provides support to both subtitling and dubbing, makes it possible to recognise, as we have already indicated, that EU policy acts in a twofold sense, by subsidising the use of minority languages as vehicular languages while also promoting the full availability of European films, assuming the cost of dubbing them to that end. Furthermore, the pilot project Subtitled with funds from crowdsourcing, also contained in this report, which the Commission plans to implement in the near future, allows one to anticipate the partial or total withdrawal of EU funding. However, the report then praises the permanence of the LUX Prize awarded by the European Parliament and of enormous relevance in the promotion of European films through the translation of the subtitles of the winning film into the European Union’s 24 official languages.
In conclusion, in our opinion the reason why dysfunctionalities in the film industry are denounced repeatedly in EU reflections on the subject and yet no solution has been unequivocably successful is due to the failure to incorporate the cultural perspective as the central element in the political discourse – not the only but certainly the most important – beyond strictly operative references. We offer one final example of our criticism: the Committee on Education and Culture raises the question of film literacy, highlighting the importance of actual cinemas, where certain topos manifest themselves, one being housing and providing continuity to intergenerational learning. But the EU lament then immediately translates into the following. The year 2014 has been the most impressive year in terms of the number of films distributed across Europe: 1,500, which is double the number of US films. The number of viewers of European films, however, turned out to be inversely proportional – twice the number of films, half the audience. This discrepancy is seen as a cause for concern by the EU authorities. According to the Committee, the reason is not cultural –showing that the argument of the topos has no continuity or real weight in European discourse– but industry-related, namely: in Europe the funds dedicated to marketing and promotion of films amount to approximately 1% of overall production costs, whereas US films can have a marketing budget that rivals the production costs.
7. EU linguistic policy (2016)
Following on from these considerations, we can now start to investigate EU linguistic policy, which is where subtitling policy is inevitably defined. One of the priorities of European attempts to promote mobility and intercultural understanding is learning languages, which justifies the funding of subtitling, for example. Moreover, multilingualism is a fundamental element in European competitiveness. We shall thus examine a concrete situation in the context of understanding how European institutions operate with these two considerations on which linguistic diversity depends: intercultural understanding and competitiveness.
In an announcement published on 22 January 2016 , the Real Academia Galega (RAG), the institution that supports and regulates the Galician language, echoed the content of the last report of the Council of Europe on the recent development of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Spain. In particular, RAG highlighted the attention drawn by the Council of Europe to the gradual reduction in the teaching of and in Galician in general and criticised this reduction. This was the result of the application of Decree 79/2010 of the Xunta de Galicia, the government of that autonomous community. On 21 January 2016 the Council of Europe had indeed published a report entitled European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Application of the Charter in Spain, 4th monitoring cycle. Report of the Committee of Experts on the Charter. Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the application of the Charter by Spain [Charte Européen des langues regionales ou minoritaires. Application de la chartre en Espagne. 4e cycle de suivi. Rapport du Comité d’Experts de la Charte. Recommandation du Comité des Ministres du Conseil de l’Europe sur l’application de la Charte par l’Espagne.] The report describes the situation in the section Galician in Galicia thus: “D'après les informations fournies dans le quatrième rapport, les pourcentages de personnes qui déclarent avoir une (bonne/très bonne) connaissance du galicien sont les suivants:” [According to the information provided in the fourth report, the percentages of people that report a (good/very good) knowledge of Galician are:]
Personnes qui le comprennent [people who understand it]
Personnes qui le parlent [people who speak it]
Personnes qui le lisent [people who read it]
Personnes qui l'écrivent [people who write it]
(Council of Europe, 2016)
If we add to these figures the fact that there are many Galician speakers in other parts of Spain, namely Extremadura, Castile and León, and Asturias, as reflected in the report, we can consider Galician a language used in large numbers, even if at different levels, in a geographical area that extends beyond its own borders. Thus it is not entirely a minority language even though it is dependent on disastrous political management, which has ignored the obligations that derive from the Spanish government’s adhesion to the European Charter for Languages: “L’Espagne a signé la Charte (…) le 5 novembre 1992 et l’a ratifiée le 9 avril 2001. La charte est entrée en vigueur le 1er août 2001” [Spain signed the ... Charter ... on 5 November 1992 and ratified it on 9 April 2001. The Charter entered into force on 1 August 2001.] (Council of Europe, 2016). The Galician government has deliberately downgraded Galician within the educational system: in primary schools Spanish is supposed to be used to teach Mathematics and Galician to teach Knowledge of the Environment, a subject that has until now covered Geography, History and the Natural Sciences. The explicit prohibition of Galician in teaching is extended in secondary schools to Technology, Physics and Chemistry: “D’après les informations fournies par les locuteurs durant le quatrième cycle de suivi, le décret 79/2010 a eu un impact très négatif car il fixait un seuil maximum de 50 % d’enseignement en galicien avec l’objectif final de le ramener à un tiers tout en interdisant expressément l’enseignement, en galicien, des mathématiques dans l’enseignement primaire, et des mathématiques, de la technologie, de la physique et de la chimie dans l’enseignement secondaire.” [According to the information provided by the speakers during the fourth monitoring round, the Decree 79/2010 has had a very negative impact by setting a maximum of 50% for teaching in Galician, with the final aim of further reducing it to one third, whilst at the same time expressly forbidding the teaching, in Galician, of Mathematics in primary education and of Mathematics, Technology and Physics, and Chemistry in secondary education.](Council of Europe, 2016)
However, the attempt to undermine Galician in society should equally be observed in its use in the media . The expert delegation identified a major deficit in television in particular: “Pendant la visite sur place, les représentants des locuteurs ont déclaré que le galicien n’était jamais utilisé concrètement dans les chaînes privées de télévision espagnoles et que le nombre de programmes en galicien était très limité dans la seule chaîne de télévision privée galicienne. Le gouvernement galicien ne semblait pas faire tout son possible pour respecter le seuil minimum de 50 % fixé dans la licence” [During the on-the-spot visit, the representatives of the speakers stated that Galician was never used in practise in Spanish private television channels and in the only Galician private television the number of programmes in Galician was very limited. The Galician Government did not seem to be very active in ensuring that it meets the minimum of 50% established in the license.] (Council of Europe, 2016). As can be seen, the failure to meet these obligations in television is manifested in the neglect of Galician by private Spanish channels and its use is extremely limited at the only Galician private broadcaster (Correo TV). Despite this the Galician government has not put any pressure on the broadcaster in question to satisfy the 50% minimum use of Galician as provided for in the broadcast licences.
Furthermore, even though Galicia in a region for dubbing, the Council’s report still points out the following questions. First, the budget for dubbing, particularly of the Compañía de Radio Televisión de Galicia (CRTVG –Galician Radio and Television Company purely Galician public radio and television) decreased from EUR 3.3 million in 2012 to EUR 1.5 million in 2013, and no films were dubbed in 2014– let alone subtitled, we should add. Second, the budgetary limitations in the audiovisual sector in general are described, which is manifested in a significant reduction of the tasks of promoting Galician film, for example: “Des films galiciens tels que Vilamor et O Apostolo ont eu de gros problèmes de distribution dans les cinémas commerciaux” [Galician films such as Vilamor and O Apóstolo have experienced major problems regarding distribution in commercial cinemas.] (Council of Europe, 2016). The report nonetheless concludes despite this: “Compte tenu des informations complémentaires fournies, le comité d’experts considère que cet engagement est toujours respecté et demande aux autorités espagnoles de formuler des observations sur cet engagement dans le prochain rapport périodique” [While taking into account the additional information provided, the Committee of Experts considers that the undertaking remains still fulfilled and asks the authorities to comment on this undertaking in the next periodical report.] (Council of Europe, 2016). Once again we are forced to conclude from this that the cultural dimension and ultimately the linguistic one effectively occupy a limited semantic terrain within EU discourse but do not qualify as structural elements within it, just as they fail to achieve this status in its political interventions.
Besides the paradoxes in EU policies of which we are aware, which are susceptible to a certain degree to cracks into which political actions such as that of the Galician government can take root, as we have seen in the Decree of 2010, we should also draw attention to other political movements because of their opportunism and without doubt their unusual nature. An unprecedented event in Spanish politics took place in October 2010: the Council of Ministers  approved the Integral Programme for Learning Foreign Languages, whose proposals included promoting access to audiovisual content in original version as a priority to improve the multilinguistic capacity of students. Based on that, in July 2011 the ICAA (Spanish Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts) and the Secretary of State for Education and Professional Training of the Ministry of Education announced the formation of a Committee of Experts to draw up proposals and recommendations for the government with a view to developing public policy in this area. Finally, that same month, on 12 July 2011, the Spanish Senate (the second house of parliament) agreed with the support of all parliamentary groups apart from the People’s Party, which took refuge in abstention, to promote cultural diversity by supporting the official languages in the Autonomous Communities and guaranteeing the right of access to audiovisual content in the language chosen by citizens. It thereby adopted measures to develop the range of film and audiovisual content in original version, specifically by subtitling versions in other official languages for both cinema exhibition and television broadcast. The agreement also affected the implementation by the ministries of education and culture, in agreement with the Autonomous Communities, of policies and measures aimed at introducing film and audiovisual content in original version in the educational system as a means of improving language learning, including the official languages of the Autonomous Communities.
To conclude, we should refer just briefly to the manifesto Glocal cinema: big stories, small countries. Otras filmografías europeas: cine en lenguas no hegemonics, launched by the Department of Education, Linguistic Policy and Culture of the Basque government, an Autonomous Community whose government is undoubtedly more sensitive than the Galician government to linguistic issues in particular and cultural matters in general. The manifesto allows us to relocate a number of questions we have previously discussed in relation to the EU policy and as represented in the report issued by the Council of Europe. Thus as part of the 63rd edition of the San Sebastián Film Festival, and with the aim of promoting film made in non-hegemonic languages, there was a meeting of institutional and industry representatives from 15 European regions and countries in September 2015. These included Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Wales, Slovenia, Ireland and the Basque Country. This meeting led to a joint proposal: to advocate a different cultural map of Europe with filmographies in languages other than the main European languages. However, there are some figures to give cause for concern: the market share for European films was 33.6% in 2014, the highest since 1996, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory, but of the 20 most seen films in Europe, 18 were made in English, French, German or Spanish. This reveals the narrowness of the internal market in which films in minority and/or minoritised languages have to compete. That is why the signatories of the manifesto proposed working together to create new opportunities for filmmakers committed to recovering their languages of origin while also raising awareness of these filmographies so that the public can become acquainted with them and starts to demand them. In this sense, it could be said that what is dysfunctional in the European film apparatus lies not so much or solely in a problem of promotion, i.e. visibility, but rather in raising awareness. Therefore the task of improving literacy should take the form of designing a cultural criterion, based on culture, so that European cinema in small- and medium-sized languages is a priority and necessity that the public do not wish to forego.
8. Institutional policy in Finland, Wales and Galicia
Just as Mette Hjort (2007) has affirmed, the sustainability of any small country’s cinema is based on two factors that are inextricably linked: institutional policy and artistic leadership. In the example analysed by Hjort, that of Danish cinema, the measures to impulse the creation of talent implemented by institutions dedicated to the audiovisual sector have made a substantial contribution to the appearance of creators that generate an industry beyond its own productions and, above all, give visibility to national cinema. We will now analyse the specific policies used in three small European film sectors which need important and constant incentives and support for audiovisual activity, not only in terms of production but also subsequent diffusion. The distribution and promotion of films made in the context of small cinema, and even more so in the case of minority cultures, is essential to save these from the invisibility to which the current system of distribution and exhibition condemns them.
Finland, Wales and Galicia each have a system of funding and promotion for audiovisual projects that we will analyse with reference to three concepts that organise the main lines of their activity: creativity, visibility and diversity. These three values are implicit in audiovisual policy but do not usually have the same amount of funding. Rather, they serve to illustrate the difficulty in finding a balance between public investment in production, the promotion and distribution of audiovisual products, film education, and clear support for the preservation of difference and diversity in artistic expression.
The very way in which institutions dedicated to the creation and development of audiovisual policy are organised in the three countries throws light on the importance attributed to the audiovisual sector as a cultural and economic motor. It is worth noting in this context that both Wales and Galicia are nations whose cultural policies are subordinate to the state in which they are subsumed while also having a minorised culture that requires special protection. The different degrees of autonomy of stateless nations determine, in this way, their capacity for taking decisions with respect to cultural policies. The situation of Wales is not the same as that of Galicia. Their differences derive from the characteristics of the different systems of self-government and the historical struggle required to secure this relative independence with respect to the development of certain policies.
In 2006, Wales created Ffilm Cymru Wales, the audiovisual agency whose objective is to “help to develop a film sector in Wales and maximise the economic, educational and cultural benefits of film” (Ffilm Cymru Wales, 2015). This institution replaced Sgrîn, the previous agency for film, television and new media established in 1997. In this way, film gained greater independence within the funding programme of the Welsh government by having an institution of its own to develop specific policies.
Galician institutions, on the other hand, have moved in the opposite direction during the same period. Specific bodies to manage, fund and promote the audiovisual sector have been integrated into the Axencia Galega das Industrias Culturais (Agadic), an institution that has encompassed the policies of various areas of national culture since 2008 and whose “ten por obxecto o impulso e a consolidación do tecido empresarial no sector cultural galego” [object is to stimulate and consolidate the business structure within the Galician cultural sector] (Agadic, 2015). Agadic replaced the Axencia Galega do Audiovisual and the Consorcio do Audiovisual, two bodies that showed the two-pronged nature of the previous two-party government (2005-09) and which themselves replaced Dirección Xeral de Comunicación e Audiovisual. Despite being considered a strategic sector since the first Lei do Audiovisual de 1999, the independence of the audiovisual industry in an institutional sense has been reduced as a result of this integration of cultural policies within a single body. As regards Finland, the Finnish Film Foundation is the institution in charge of the country’s audiovisual policy, an undertaking dating back to 1969, giving a stability to the sector lacking in the other two cases. In the example of Wales, the constitution of its National Assembly in 1998 as part of the process of Devolution in the United Kingdom signified a late expression of policy in the cultural industries despite the existence of a previous defence of national culture. In Galicia, despite obtaining political autonomy in 1981, changes in political power have generated discontinuity in the policies implemented by the institutions in charge of the audiovisual sector, involving changes in the production and promotion of film. During the periods of transition between governments invitations to apply for funding are put on hold only to be reformulated later on based on new rules.
Although we are going to focus on these institutions specifically dedicated to the audiovisual sector, we should also consider the role of other public entities such as television channels who by law have to reserve part of their budget for audiovisual funding as well as undertaking to broadcast the films they finance with a view to guaranteeing their visibility, and also clusters or even bodies dedicated to cultural industries that deal with cinema in an interdisciplinary sense.
As regards production incentives in the three territories, which is usually the area to which most attention is paid, at least in economic terms, the differences in investment are notable. During the three years from 2012 to 2014, Finland dedicated just over EUR 20 million to audiovisual production, broken down into funding for screenplays, development and production. The Galician government provided funding of between just over EUR 1,300,000 and nearly EUR 3 million in public competitions to develop projects in the Galician language, production or coproduction in Galician or with Galician cultural content and grants to support Galician audiovisual talent. Ffilm Cymru Wales contributes significantly less than the other two territories to its national production, divided between funding for development and production, ranging from between half a million euros and approximately 1,200,000 euros (see table 1).
Table 1. Funding for audiovisual production
Source: Finnish Film Foundation, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Agadic. Table by authors.
Within the part dedicated to production a particular type of subsidy should be highlighted, namely the grants given to talent, which attempt to create the conditions so that new filmmakers can have access to the resources they need for their first works. Although Finland has a consolidated film industry, there is no funding dedicated explicitly to talent, although in previous years there have been specific projects to subsidise medium-length films by new filmmakers. The relevant institutions in both Galicia and Wales, however, have specific programmes to stimulate audiovisual talent. The principles of Ffilm Cymru Wales state that its work consists in creating a "reserve of talent" to the development of which it provides financial assistance. In addition, the NET.WORK programme of the British Film Institute was developed during the 2013-14 two-year period to train talent and realise networking activities for those born and resident in Wales. For its part, the Galician system of production aid specifies a particular type of funding "para o desenvolvemento e promoción do talento audiovisual galego" [for the development and promotion of Galician talent]  up to a maximum of EUR 30,000 for feature length films by new directors.
The funding policy for production in the three countries is similar in terms of the share dedicated to production within the overall audiovisual programme at just over 80%. The significant economic differences between them mean that the number of films produced in each territory also varies considerably. In the period under study Finland gave financial aid to an average of 70 to 80 films, while Wales and Galicia subsidised about 12 films every year.
Visibility is the second aspect that institutions dedicated to audiovisual creation focus on as part of the sector’s strategic plan. Each of the three countries has a different plan for encouraging distribution and promotion, centred on the internationalisation of film, and film education and exhibition, which seek to make national cinema visible within the country and its natural audience.
Whereas Finland has a consolidated model of funding specifically dedicated to film distribution, Galicia and Wales have gradually incorporated programmes dedicated exclusively to the distribution and promotion of the audiovisual sector. The figures, once again, vary considerably, but not the share of public funding dedicated to this area in each of the three countries, which is a lot lower than that geared towards stimulating creation. Finland reports an amount of between three and four million euros for the visibility of its cinema, divided into four areas: international promotion, exhibition, distribution and film festivals. Among these the area that receives the most funding is exhibition, which supports digitalisation in cinemas throughout the country, particularly in 2012, when this received about 2.5 million euros. This support together with that for film festivals shows Finland’s special interest in converting its population into an active audience. The success of this backing for national cinema is shown in its audience share in the country, which was 28% in 2014, superseded in Europe only by French cinema with 44%. In the case of Wales, there is no funding programme dedicated to international promotion or to distribution, while in the period under study Agadic in Galicia only introduced grants for promotion, marketing and exhibition in 2014 with a total budget of EUR 120,000. These public funds can be subdivided into two groups: one dedicated to taking part in festivals, which filmmakers and production firms who are going to present a film at an international event can apply for, and another that reserves EUR 105,000 for the marketing and distribution of films. In view of the policies of these two stateless nations, we can say that the importance has not been understood of taking national cinema beyond their borders and creating brands to distinguish them from their other state cinemas. This is particularly notorious in the case of Wales where no clear "Welsh film" brand appears to have been applied but is instead integrated, apparently without qualms, into British film, which has guaranteed international visibility. An example taken from television production  will serve to illustrate this subordinate position. The police series Hinterland / Y Gwyl (2013-...) was filmed in both Welsh for broadcast on the SC4 channel and in English for BBC4, but its international sale, intended to be subtitled, was with the English version. Among its buyers was DR, the Danish channel that made The killing (2007-2012)(Moss, 2013), representing an injection of self-confidence for local producers who still do not dare to sell their products in their original language. In Galicia, the most successful promotion of national cinema derives less from institutional measures –since 2013 Agadic has published the catalogue Films from Galicia for film markets– than from the actions of the creative leaders mentioned by Hjort. The creation of the label Novo Cinema Galego, which brings together a group of young filmmakers who have won prizes awarded for new visions or talents at festivals such as Cannes, Rotterdam or Locarno, has contributed to the visibility of a cinema distinct from Spanish cinema, as indicated by the article in Cahiers du Cinéma "Loin de Madrid" (Azalbert, 2013).
As regards the visibilisation of film within each territory, there are certain common elements in their policies attributable to technological changes and new modes of cinema exhibition. Finland, Wales and Galicia all reserve a significant amount of funding to local cinemas, particularly Finland, where the aim is to digitalise and modernise cinemas throughout the country. In 2012, around two-and-a-half million euros were spent on these tasks, whereas, once the objective of digitalising all the country’s cinemas was completed, no amount was set aside for this in 2014. Wales budgeted approximately GBP 100,000 (EUR 128,000) to fund 13 independent cinemas during the 2012-13 two-year period and 22 for 2013-14 with a view to screening Welsh films, but does not dedicate funds to digitalisation. Finally, the governing Galician institution developed the network of public cinemas in Galicia in 2014 and 2015. This brings to place that have lost cinemas in recent years a range of independent Galician and European films that cannot be seen in multiplexes. All three countries share a clear commitment to subsidising film festivals, one of the platforms in which films from small countries can circulate and which create a sense of community and informal interaction that act as a creative incentive. In the period under study Finland gave an annual amount of half a million years to allow seven stable festivals to be held; Ffilm Cymru Wales funded six cinema events with EUR 80,000 during the 2012-13 two-year period and around EUR 100,000 in 2013-14. The Galician government only offered aid in a specific grant for festivals in 2014, when it granted total funding of EUR 90,000 for five events. In the part dedicate to visibilisation it is also interesting to mention the education film projects for children and teenagers. Whereas the institutions in Galicia and Finland do not provide any assistance here, Ffilm Cymru Wales realises that the education and creation of cinematic pleasure is one of its basic missions. It provided EUR 64,000 to educational projects in the first two-year period and approximately EUR 77,000 in the second.
Finally, diversity is the third principle to appear in the policies of these audiovisual institutions. Even though in the three countries this concept is related to the availability of different film genres and modes of expression for the audience, this does not always affect cultural and linguistic issues, which are fundamental in a system designed to protect a minority culture. This is where we find greater differences between the three territories. The knowledge that one is making films in a language with a small number of speakers in the world and the limitations on distribution and exhibition that small film industries have to take on board create antagonistic strategies in which the benchmark is the market as regulatory element.
Finland recognises Finnish and Swedish as joint official languages, coexisting with other languages such as Roman and Sami. Moreover, it is one of the signatory states to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which protects all national languages except Finnish. However, Finnish audiovisual policies do not contain any references to special protection of languages in film, but rather give priority to commercial rather than cultural or identity criteria. Thus, for example, the funding of coproductions with partners from other countries does not include criteria about the use of Finnish or Swedish as part of the film’s original version, failing to prevent most of such films from being shot in the majority language and sold internationally with subtitles.
The treatment of Welsh as a minority language in its country’s audiovisual policy also reveals a defence of economic criteria over and above cultural and linguistic ones. Thus it is stated that Welsh will be used if this brings economic benefits. In the “Welsh Language Scheme” , largely written in English rather than in both languages, artists and producers are encouraged to send projects in the language of their choice but "con la debida observación de las circunstancias del mercado" [“with due regard for market circumstances”] (Ffilm Cymru Wales, 2015). Although there are some hesitant initiatives in this direction, such as the Y Labordy [The Laboratory] screenwriting workshop in Welsh, created by the Creative SkillSet programme, the audiovisual authority does not itself award grants specifically for film production in Welsh. As a result of the lack of specific protection, the number of films made in Welsh is exceptionally low.
Audiovisual policy in Galicia would appear to have an explicit interest in the making of films in that language. There are two types of funding to this end: specific funding for production in Galician, amounting to EUR 150,000 in 2013 and EUR 175,000 in 2014 , and funding intended for "audiovisual productions and coproductions with Galician cultural content", which, despite some modifications during the three years that were studied, do not include Galician as an absolute condition for their award. The amount of these grants is significantly higher: nearly three million euros were awarded in 2012, slightly more than one million in 2013 and two million in 2014. Productions in the vernacular language receive something of "cosmetic" aid, good intentions, and, given their limited budget, can only give rise to smaller projects while it is taken for granted that in larger productions and coproductions Spanish is the commercial language, with Galician playing a subordinate role in double versions not intended, in general, for cinema screening but television broadcast.
The establishment from different origins of a continuous line of investigation into the characteristics, status and role of cinema qualified as “national”, without that corresponding to the traditional scheme of state cinema, and placing this in the context of small-scale production makes it possible to gather under this heading scholarly contributions whose seminal role can be highlighted together with their rigorousness. Starting with the proposition of cinema as a multiple object and a dilemmatic field for thought, a number of authors have analysed systematically aspects and universes that have been barely explored, enabling them for the first time to place these in the context of film policy and create a theoretical corpus capable of serving as a reference. The nation as sociocultural variable and not only as a space of the market, together with the decision to incorporate the analysis of non-hegemonic languages, create approaches that reveal the need to work out in a critical way definitions and classifications that tend to remain opaque to any change of perspective. At the same time as indicating a series of aspects to be untangled, among which can be found the identity/diversity dialectic as material territory in which institutional programmes are applied, the texts incorporate at both a theoretical and methodological level the concept of film as an asset in the way in which certain “imagined communities” are expressed in a subordinate position, an extreme which places in the foreground the right of audiences to have access to films in their own language.
Between 1996 and 2016 it is possible to discern a certain drift away from the model of a network of interconnected peripheral systems, a model of economic development underwritten by the EU authorities at the beginning of this period, towards a new model of tributaries twenty years later feeding a central European artery of a commercial nature. It is in this variant of the model –and the consequent change of perspective from reconciliation of interests of economic development with interests of sociocultural development to the implementation of a purely economic perspective– that we can find a response to the commercial dysfunctionality (as expressed in EU terms) of the films distributed and exhibited in original version originating in small- and medium-sized countries.
In our opinion the reason why dysfunctionalities in the film industry are denounced repeatedly in EU documents on the subject and yet no solution has been unequivocably successful is due to the failure to incorporate the cultural perspective as the central element in the political discourse –not the only but certainly the most important– beyond strictly operative references.
The availability of films in original version and original version with subtitles becomes an unrenounceable and irreplaceable option in the modern European cultural map while guaranteeing the success of the cross-border circulation that the EU authorities wish to encourage within the framework of the Creative Europe programme. After all, at issue is the only means of discovering European cultural and linguistic diversity, de facto, through the audiovisual reality.
In this sense, it could be said that what is dysfunctional in the European film apparatus does not lie solely in a problem of promotion, i.e. visibility, but rather in raising awareness. Therefore the task of improving literacy should take the form of designing a culturally based criterion, so that European cinema in small-and medium-sized languages is a priority and necessity that the public do not wish to forego.
The audiovisual policy of small nations, which generally combines support for creativity, visibility and diversity of film, determines to a large extent the destiny of their cinema, their capacity for production and making themselves visible in a highly competitive market. From the three cases analysed here, that of Finnish, Welsh and Galician, it can be seen that decisive backing for the creation of stable funding structures for audiovisual work, above all its promotion and distribution, helps in developing strategies to visibilise small cinema.
The audiovisual policies analysed in Finland, Wales and Galicia show that stateless nations face greater difficulties in creating the “national cinema” brand associated with their territory due to significantly lower budgets and dependency on state policies. We have also found that there is a direct relationship between institutional investment in promotion and distribution and the impact of that investment on the box office, particularly domestic ticket sales. The efforts undertaken by Finland to reinforce these elements in the productive film chain are reflected in the success of its cinema, whereas in the cases of Wales and Galicia, the lack of attention given to these factors mean their cinemas are condemned to invisibility within and outside their borders. At the same time, the lack of policies on cultural and linguistic diversity in the three countries favours production in hegemonic languages and makes the survival of film production in languages such as Welsh or Galician more difficult.
*Funded research. This article is the result of the research project “Towards the European Digital Space: the role of small cinemas in original version”, reference CSO2012-35784, funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Government of Spain.
 On the need for reform in regional television in Europe and in Spain in particular, see: Azurmendi, Ana (2013). Reformas de la televisión regional europea con lengua propia en el contexto actual de crisis. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 68. Available at: http://www.revistalatinacs.org/068/paper/981_Navarra/15_Azurmendi.html
 It should nonetheless be pointed out that in general terms the policies of the socialist government did not stand out for their cultural commitment. On this, see Ramón Zallo (2010). La política de Comunicación Audiovisual del gobierno socialista (2004-2009): un giro neoliberal. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 65. Available at: http://www.revistalatinacs.org/10/art/880_UPV/02_Zallo.html
 Ffilm Cumry Wales reports its figures every two years. The figures presented in the table correspond to the 2012-13 and 2013-14 two-year periods. To obtain an approximate figure we have divided the amount for each two-year period by two and for 2013 we have added the data for both periods. Amounts expressed in British pounds have been converted to euros using the exchange rate for 10 February 2016.
 In 2013 Agadic resumed the Subvencións de creación audiovisual para o desenvolvemento e promoción do talento audiovisual galego [grants for audiovisual creation for the development and promotion of Galician audiovisual talent], which the previous government had created in 2009. In the original wording for these grants they were intended to fund physical persons, which enabled new filmmakers to apply for a kind of "creation pool" without having the backing of a production firm. The amount of these grants was reduced considerably when the government changed and eventually they disappeared in 2012, as described in "Informe #2 – Axudas de Talento" (Observatorio Audiovisual de Galicia, 2015).
 In 2012, the BBC opened the Roath Lock studios in Cardiff aimed at the development of television drama as part of a process of decentralising British television. Since the increase in production of series, the BBC has also shifted its focus towards television rather than film. Despite this structural improvement, McElroy, Noonan & Blandford (2015) argue that the BBC has created local jobs and achieved foreign investment but the volume of products based in Welsh culture has not increased.
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12. Electronic sources
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How to cite this article in bibliographies / References
M Ledo Andión, AM López Gómez, M Pérez Pereiro (2016): “European cinema in the languages of stateless and small nations”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 71, pp. 309 to 331.
Article received on 20 January 2016. Accepted on 9 March.
Published on 22 March 2016.