Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 22

THE ENDURING VISION OF A WORLD WITHOUT WAR the countries concerned were sent, in which it was made clear that we were interested not only in festival films but also in films which had enjoyed a large box-office success and films of historical interest. (UNES- CO 1958c) To underline the nature of the negotiation process as labelled by contradicting aims and differing preferences, we need to take a brief look at the selection criteria of the films. The films were primarily chosen based on three criteria: (1) They have been shown or received awards at recognised international film festivals; (2) They have enjoyed box-office success and wide distribution in their own countries; or (3) They are of historical importance in the development of the art of the film in the country concerned. This list is clearly a combination of the aims of UNESCO, the BFI and the National Commissions. The negotiations between UNESCO and the BFI are crystallised in a draft version: “In other words, the basic criteria applied in the selection of films was whether the film contributed to a better appreciation of the Orient and whether it was a good film.” As was made clear throughout the process, the BFI was mainly concerned with the quality of films, recognising the value the art form holds on its own, while UNESCO’s focus was on the instrumental value of the medium as a means of promoting understanding on the one hand and battling against misunderstanding on the other. While the aims of the BFI and the National Commissions are clearly acknowledged, in reality UNESCO’s aims completely overpower those of the others: There is one, tiny sentence in the introduction that could be used to overrule any choice of film made based on the three criteria. Films dealing with “sources of international misunderstanding” were automatically left out no matter how good or popular they were (Holmes 1959). A draft version clarifies what exactly was meant by this: “In keeping with the spirit of the Survey, films dealing with recent wars and other sources of international misunderstanding have been omitted. Similarly, films which for other reasons seemed incompatible with the aims of the Survey have not been included, regardless of their box-office success.” The BFI tried to assume “general responsibility for the selection of films”, but this statement did not make its way into the final version. The catalogue was, first and foremost, a UNESCO project, and it was its ideologically constructed value base that was to be spread through the catalogue. UNESCO’s international society was to be one of peace, understanding and solidarity, based on a profound belief that these are unquestionable, foundational social values. Conclusions It could be argued that through the catalogue project, UNESCO aimed to conceptualise the organisation as a manifestation of an international society as a way of building sustainable peace�never mind the fact that they did not yet have the word at their disposal. The trick to conceptualising UNESCO through a non-existent term lies in the distinction between a word and a concept. Following Quentin Skinner (1989:7–8), a concept 21