Humor transcending Cultures: A Commentary on Cross-Cultural Communication

My partner Daisy and I chose the films Lost in Thailand and Hangover 2 due to our mutual fondness for the comedy genre. Our objective was to see if humor could transcend different cultures. We wanted to see what each other laughed at and how relatable the humor was, given our different cultural backgrounds.

Why these films were chosen:

These two films were chosen, because they are both set in Thailand. We wanted to compare film styles and humor in a third party setting, so as not to be biased toward one country.

Film Plots:

Lost in Thailand (2012): Lost-in-thailand-film-poster

Synopsis: On a journey to get authorization from his biggest shareholder, Protagonist Xu Lang goes on an adventure through various parts of Thailand where he meets and becomes stuck with the ditzy traveler Wang Bao. Through a series of misadventures, including being hunted by his ex-college mate, Xu Lang is able to find himself and realize what is important in his life.

 

 

 

 

 

HangoverPart2MP2011Hangover 2 (2011):

Synopsis: The night before Stu’s wedding, Alan, Stu, and Phil plan on a quiet night on the beach as opposed to their previous bachelor party in Vegas that ended in shambles. Through similar circumstances to the first film, the three men end up hungover in a place they have never been, trying to account for the events that took place the night before.

 

 

 

 

 

Discoveries After Viewing Films:

Through our Skype conversations, Daisy and I discovered we laughed at the same jokes and had the same sense of humor. We realized that this occurrence may not always happen, but that humor preferences had more to do with one’s personality, rather than her nationality.

Similarities:

These two films were eerily similar. Released one year later, Lost in Thailand followed an extremely similar plot to Hangover 2 that included both parties being lost in Thailand, car chases, ridiculous events, resolved endings, “frenemies” chasing them, both having friendship names i.e. “The Wolf Pack” and “Thailand Legend”, similar character personalities and dynamics between characters.

It is our belief that the previous box-office success of Hangover 2, led to the film being used as a reference for Lost in Thailand, produced a year later.

Here is a video that crosscuts both films to show how similar they are:

280 Blog VId from Abigail Kelsen on Vimeo.

 

Film Locations:

This is a map of the filming locations of both movies. Both were filmed in Bangkok, Thailand, but Lost in Thailand was also filmed in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


View Filming Locations in a larger map

 

Differences:

While both films were filmed in Thailand, they each portrayed the city entirely differently. Lost in Thailand portrayed Thailand as a relaxing place where everything moved slower and pictured the country with beautiful landscapes. Hangover 2 portrayed a more exotic, mysterious Thailand as a gritty city with hints of spiritual desire/meditation.

Chinese Student Perspective: My Partner Daisy’s Thoughts on Both Films

Every year, hundreds of movies will be produced in China. Not like movies in Hollywood, Chinese movies have their own limitations on several sides. We do produce good movies but most of them never get the permission to been shown in cinemas. So, we like foreign movies more than Chinese movies.

Lost in Thailand:
Lost in Thailand gets its success because of its script, actors’ lines and right screen time. It is interesting to see the two men running around in a strange city. Baobao is popular for his pure heart and passion to life. Moreover, there are some tender feelings in this movie. For example, Xu Lang and his wife’s episode move me. Bingbing Fan‘s appearance in the end make the movie more perfect. Not like other unsuccessful Chinese movies, Lost in Thailand build its laughing points on the whole script, not obtrusive.

The Hangover 2:
Like Lost in Thailand, The Hangover2 takes place in Thailand. Asia may always be a little mysterious for western audience. The little monkey in jeans is so cute! Alan’s personality has in common with Baobao’s. They both have pure hearts and belief in friends. What they do always destroy all the progress their friends have made, but you cannot even get angry at them for their pure goals. Dirty things make this movie much funnier! I know this kind of movie will never be shown in mainland China. As for me, a few dirty things will make things more interesting or easier to laugh at. Sometimes, our government is trying to control us by controlling our thoughts. It seems that works most of the times, but maybe one day tech nerd/ tech geek will change the situation. Who knows~ Who cares~ Just enjoy the movie now!

All in all, I like these two movies! !

 

Daisy

My partner Daisy

My Partner: Zhang “Daisy” Bingxin Bio

Daisy is a 20 year old sophomore at BNU. She is an English Major who grew up in the Sichuan Province, southern China. Daisy loves Japanese cartoon series, particularly Bleach (2002). Her favorite genre of film is Comedy. Daisy’s favorite american cartoon series is the Simpsons (1989), for she loves laughing at its raunchy humor.

 

 

 

 

Film Objective Conclusion:

Daisy and I came to find the conclusion to our previous objective. We believe that humor can transcend cultures, and that humor is more influential on personality types than cultural backgrounds.

Cross-Cultural Communication:

New Media has become a powerful tool to bridge cultural connections. Never before would I have thought I could communicate and relate to someone on the other side of the world. Through our Skype talks, I was able to relate to my partner Daisy and see the world through her perspective. Even though I have never been to China, my talks with Daisy gave me a better picture for what life must be like for someone my age as a student in Beijing. It seems as technology advances, the possibilities for cross-cultural communication are becoming endless. There are so many forms of media we can communicate through, it was actually difficult for Daisy and I to settle on just communicating through Skype for uniformity’s sake.

Film as a Learning Tool:

Using film as a learning tool, Daisy and I were able to ask each other how realistic the films were and how much was “hollywood magic”. The films let us imagine what life must be like for each other and come to terms with our similarities and differences. Daisy taught me that film production and distribution was a lot stricter in China, so they are limited in what films can be produced. She envied the full-spectrum of genres the American film industry boasts. It was also odd that we did not have the same options for video streaming. While I suggested many films for her to watch, there is no Youtube in China and streaming options were limited for Daisy. I had to let her take the lead on which films she could actually gain access to.

Final Thoughts on this Project:

Through this whole process I learned how relatable our two cultures are. While Daisy and I have similar interests, our worlds have a lot of differences as well. I gained a whole new appreciation for some of the simple luxuries in my life such as having only two roommates and fairly decent internet connection. If not for this project, I don’t think I would have ever had an opportunity to relate to someone my age on the other side of the world.