Global film at global airlines: a “territory” in the air

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In recent years, since the introduction of individually controlled multichannel entertainment systems on-board, it has become customary to see a growing range of international cinematic selections being made available to airline passengers. The film selection is no longer dominated by Hollywood fare; average long-haul flights now feature films sourced out of Bollywood, East Asia, and Europe, as well as from other cinematic traditions—and the selection grows in size and in variety, especially on flights that bridge together far-flung parts of the world. It is an unprecedented situation—to see global cinema “live”, as it were, on board of global airlines—that turns the airlines into territories of conviviality, as no similar levels of diversity are found in the actual geographical territories of the countries where the airlines are based. Some research questions that arise in this context include: is it possible to speculate that the programme that airlines make available to audiences on long-haul flights is reflective of a specific understanding of diversity and cosmopolitanism that underwrite their choices? What message does the multifaceted and multinational entertainment menu of global airlines convey in a political context that is defined by backlash against globalisation and cosmopolitanism? Can one claim that global airlines are now one of the few platforms where global cinema is recognised and represented in its largest assortment?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-93
JournalAlphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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