The Trouble with Stars : Vernacular vs. Global Stardom in Two Forms of European Popular Culture

Olof Hedling

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
EventInvited talk/lecture - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US
Duration: 2014 Mar 6 → …


ConferenceInvited talk/lecture
Period2014/03/06 → …

Bibliographical note

Invited talk/lecture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US 6th of March 2014. Sponsored by Media and Cinema Studies, Comparative and World Literature Studies, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Scandinavian Studies and the European Union Center.

Transnational stardom, in the sense that particular star actors constitute a genuine draw for audiences in other European countries than that of the film’s origin, appears an increasingly rare thing within the continent’s cinema. In short, a transnational star system is wanting. Had it existed, more attractive films would most undoubtedly be a reality. Furthermore, with such a system in place films would probably find wider distribution across borders. Accordingly a star system could contribute to a more fertile and economically vigorous landscape in which European cinema could exist.
In this article, on the one hand, some of the reasons why this situation prevails will be conferred. These include the continent’s l'exception culturelle, the prevalence of film festivals, public funding bodies comparative downgrading of the worth of stars, European productions’ propensity for underfunding, the occasionally noticeable tendency to ‘mistreat’ stars, but also factors such as European views on equality. Obvious divisions such as language and differing cultural ideals will be briefly touched upon as well.
On the other hand, the above condition will be contrasted with that which prevails within the popular cultural form of European soccer. Here, something resembling an authentic European transnational star culture has developed and appears to take very little notice of nationality. Thus, stars move freely across borders and are admired all over the continent, not to say globally. A filmic representation of this which, furthermore, strongly underscores several layers of connections between soccer, stardom and cinema, is Alejandro González Iñárritu’s three minute long Write the Future commercial, made for Nike and presented just before the 2010 World Cup. The article will be concluded by a brief discussion and comparison, partly based on a reading of the film, of the different paths the phenomenon of stardom has taken in relation to the two popular European cultural forms that is film and soccer while, perhaps, suggestions what the former may learn from the latter may finally be put forward.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Arts

Free keywords

  • global economic trends
  • soccer
  • stardom
  • European cinema
  • l'exception culturelle

Cite this