From: Vincent Campbell (VCampbell@dmu.ac.uk)
Date: Thu 07 Apr 2005 - 14:56:17 GMT
Well this is a big topic, but Hollywood appropriating stories from other
countries' cinema, rather than simply importing them has quite a history-
France is subject to it to- The Assassin, Three Men & and Baby, The Woman in
Red, all originally french films. I think it's mostly got to with
distribution costs, and the legacy of the old hollywood system.
With The Ring 2, interestingly, it's been directed by Hideo Nakata, who
directed the original Ring movie in Japan, and I think the US version of
The Grudge was also directed by the Japanese director of the original. I'd
like to see a US remake of Battle Royale, which is a lot of fun.
Anyway, over here, there are jokes about American film audiences, sometimes
justified- Licence to Kill was going to be called Licence Revoked, until
test US audiences didn't know what revoked means (acc. to the ever reliable
British press), the first Harry Potter's film title, the Madness of King
George III. As for subtitled films well, there's this notion- true in the
UK too- that it just puts people off, especially the illiterate, or poorly
BUT, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon did OK business didn't it in the US?
That had an approved English-dubbed version though...
I don't really understand why genre films don't transfer that easily.
Japanese melodramas, or non-genre movies from the masters like Ozu, are
actually very different from Western, especially Hollywood movies. There
are aspects of plot, character etc. that are very difficult to "read" as a
Westerner I think, but genre movies aren't that different. That stems
partly from a very distinct Japanese culture, but more from a very distinct
film tradition. It's a bit like Bollywood movies- they have a very distinct
style and form, that non-native audiences have to learn how to understand.
It's worth the effort, but are distributors and multiplexes that bothered in
the US? I suspect it's more to do with that side- the economics- than
anything else, a bit like Manga only really appearing in specialist comic
shops, and Anime in DVD stores rather than on TV a lot.
Where I work in Leicester, in the east midlands of England, the South Asian
community is proportionally the largest of any city/town in the Uk (I
believe- it's very high anyway), and the local multiplexes always have one
or two asian movies on, which i've not seen elsewhere in the UK.
Certainly when many of the Hong Kong movie makers moved to Hollywood after
the handover they haven't really made great movies. 'Face/Off' is quite
good, but watch John Woo's 'Hard Boiled' or 'The Killer' and you'll see what
he could do in HK for instance. But that seems to be the trend- buy in the
talent to remake the movie, or make cutdown versions. I wonder if Takashi
Miike will ever make it to Hollywood? (He made 'Audition' and 'Ichii the
Killer' amongst others, very disturbing films- kind of a cross between the
evil twins of Tarantino, David Lynch and John Waters).
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