Analyzing Intercultural Communication : An Intercultural Conflict

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Films are considered to be a very valuable tool when examining intercultural communications, because they depict the way people and cultures communicate their identities. In The Woman In Gold, Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee teams up with a young but determined lawyer, Randy Schoenberg (Reynolds), to reclaim the painting of her aunt, and with it, a part of her heritage. The painting, completed by the very famous Gustav Klimt, was stolen from her home during World War II. It was then displayed at the Belvedere, becoming what the movie refers to as the “Mona Lisa of Austria.” Due to its immense importance to the Austrian society and the personal connection to Mrs. Altmann, the battle for the masterpiece is both an intercultural and an interpersonal conflict for the characters. In many ways, The Woman In Gold, serves as a good example for the theories and concepts of intercultural communication. The Martin and Nakayama text defines political history as history that focuses on political events. But in the case with Maria Altmann, the holocaust was more than just ‘political history.’ It was also a religious and ethnic history, in that it affected all of the Jewish communities and shaped Jewish history in general. It even served as a cultural and a diasporic history, after it changed Europe and provoked a massive migration of refugees. In short, the war was not just an independent political event that “just happened”, but an event that shaped Mrs. Altmann’s idea of self. The war
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