So let me get this straight, Americans don’t like foreign films? That’s just craaaaaaazy talk!

“It’s difficult to get people to pay attention to foreign language films, even under the best circumstances,” Jim hoberman, a film critic for the Village Voice alt weekly told PRI’s The World. Many Americans look to Hollywood, and begin to view themselves as the center of the filmmaking universe. Getting Americans break out of that mindset, and to tune into foreign films, some with subtitles, can be a challenge.”

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  • Jeroen M. A. Vogel

    This is a copy+paste from a blog I wrote on a subject similar to yours:


    Hollywood Remakes

    The American movie Brothers premiered yesterday. I was going to see it, but tonight I saw something in the tv-guide: “Brothers”, a film from Denmark. I watched it and sure enough: the American movie that premiered yesterday, is a remake of the Danish film. And I have something against remakes by Hollywood since 1998, when I became aware of it.

    I remember a conversation back in 2002, which I had with a colleague from London. I argued that a remake does a lot of artistic harm to the original, because Hollywood likes happy ends and European films are so much more sensible – no happy end required, let’s say. Also, doing a remake as a director doesn’t really show his sense of originality. The other guy argued that the attention that goes to the Hollywood version, also draws international attention to the European original. Well that’s damn right: the Danish movie was on due to the American one. His reason to be in favor of remakes was rational, my reason to be against it was (and is) emotional.

    One very fine example of heart pounding ‘remake-ism’ was the American version of Spoorloos, a Dutch movie from 1989 in which a couple is on holiday in France and then the girl goes missing. The guy stays around in that beautiful country for three years and finally, after a television interview in which he called for the person(s) who know more about the faith of his girlfriend and what happened to her, the kidnapper shows up. He says: “So you wanted to know what happened to your girl friend?” The boyfriend responds: “Yes, I do.” “Drink this,” the kidnapper says, “you’ll find out.” Next shot: boyfriend wakes up in a coffin, buried alive and dies (indicated by the flame from his lighter that goes out when the oxigyn is gone). Brilliant, brilliant ending! In the Hollywood remake, The Vanishing the boyfriend opens up his coffin, comes above ground, kills the kidnapper and rescues his girlfriend. And this is the whole reason why I am so much against Hollywood remakes! What the hell did they do to that Dutch original?! And even more devastating: they are both done by the same director! Money buys everything, I guess…

    Movies made to please an audience keep the movie industry going. I know. And that’s why it’s great that directors like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, John Woo and Mel Gibson exist. Keep them working.

    And let Europe do what we are good at: great stories. And great acting. Those Danish actors blew me away tonight, including the little girls. We can also make Hollywood-like films, such as The Fifth Element, Amsterdamned and The Millennium Trilogy, but they are still original!

    Jeroenmavogel.wordpress.com