University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
The Beach by Alex Garland
The Beach by Alex Garland portrays a form of tourism where it differentiates the authentic experiences of a traveller to a tourist. Danny Boyle’s(2000) adaptation depicts an American backpacker, Richard, who seeks to discover beyond the sightseeing of typical tourists. Upon following a series of unfortunate events on an island, the article examines how the film has shaped a diverse audience’s interpretation of cultural travel. The Tourist Gaze (2002) by John Urry reinforces Richard’s motivation to travel as “romantic” instead of the “collective” tourist. The article explores how the Beach embodies the Tourist Gaze in Thailand whilst studying its promotion/demotion on the various forms of tourism. The relationship between these texts also draws upon the works of film theorist, Giuliana Bruno (1997) who expresses the film’s spectatorship as a form of tourism and the interviews of workers and activist in Krabi Province.
The article established a connection between tourism and film by studying the connection between The Beach and the Tourist Gaze. The Beach supports Urry’s view of the more conventional tourist through Boyle’s use of spectatorship within the film along with its connection with imperial/colonial vision. This is accomplished through the incorporation of the tropics and the nature of ecoimperialism to encompass the Beach’s entanglement in the transculturation process. Bruno expresses a different perspective of the film as tourism practice through the representation of material landscape transformation involving actors to range from backpackers to environmental activist to further reinforce the topic of tourism. By examining these different texts in the topic of tourism, we have explored how the film’s capture of tropical images symbolises the processes of transculturation and how the Beach is a reproduction of tropical nature.