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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


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.


  • Olof Hedling
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Arts


  • European cinema, stardom, European soccer, popular culture, Write the Future (film)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Europeanness of European cinema : identity, meaning, globalisation
EditorsTimoshkina Alissa, Harrod Mary, Liz Mariana
PublisherI.B. Tauris
VolumePart of Series: International Library of the Moving Image
ISBN (Print)9781780769295
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

VolumePart of Series: International Library of the Moving Image

Bibliographic note

Table of Contents for: The Europeanness of European Cinema: An Overview Mary Harrod, Mariana Liz and Alissa Timoshkina Section 1 Defining Europe and Its Cinema Chapter 1 European Cinema into the Twenty-First Century: Enlarging the Context? Thomas Elsaesser Chapter 2 Popular European Cinema in the 2000s: Cinephilia, Genre and Heritage Tim Bergfelder Chapter 3 Changing the Image of Europe? The Role of European Co-Productions, Funds and Film Awards Anne Jackel Chapter 4 From European Co-Productions to the Euro-Pudding Mariana Liz Chapter 5 Christianity and European Film Catherine Wheatley Chapter 6 The Feather Collectors: Erased Identity and Invisible Representations of the Roma in Yugoslav Cinema Greg De Cuir Jr. Section 2 Transnational Europe: Genre, Stardom and Language Chapter 7 The Trouble with Stars: Vernacular versus Global Stardom in Two Forms of European Popular Culture Olof Hedling Chapter 8 Juliette Binoche: The Perfect European Star Ginette Vincendeau Chapter 9 Franglais, Anglais and Contemporary French Comedy Mary Harrod Chapter 10 Laughing in Tongues: Polyglot Comedy in Europe Alison Smith Chapter 11 The Use of English in European Feature Films: Unity in Diversity? Laetitia Kulyk Section 3 Circulating Europeanness Chapter 12 Paris je t’aime (plus): Europhobia as Europeanness in Luc Besson and Pierre Morel’s Dystopia Trilogy Neil Archer Chapter 13 Hollywood and Europe: Remaking The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 199 Lucy Mazdon Chapter 14 Spanish Heritage Cinema Sally Faulkner Chapter 15 From Russia to Europe and Back: East Meets West in the Films of Pavel Lungin Alissa Timoshkina

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