Ok, so this isn't going to be your typical (or at least my typical) Fistful of Thoughts. I skipped last week in favor of announcing my Fistful of Moments blogathon, and will probably be skipping next week when I post the recap post filled with all those amazing links (you guys are outdoing yourselves, and I'm so happy about it!), so I really wanted to get one of these to you today. The problem is that work is REALLY busy and I am finding myself working on posts for days on end because I have no time to get anything done, and I have posts that need to be wrapped and done for tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday...and I'm still working on them!
BUT, I have been thinking about something lately and I really wanted to talk with you guys about it. We talk about remakes a lot, not necessarily here, but as a cinephile community we can't help but talk about it because every year we are bombarded by remakes and sequels and remakes of sequels (oh god, have we gotten those yet, because they'll be coming I'm sure) and so it's a topic of conversation.
But I've been thinking more specifically, how are we feeling about this current trend of taking a well received foreign film and rushing to give it an American remake? It's kind of ironic that I just posted my review for Force Majeure because I heard over the weekend that they are planning an American remake of the film, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus in talks no less! First, that casting is kind of awful, and anyone who has seen the film would probably agree with me, but why is this happening at all? Are we as Americans being told that subtitles are not good enough for us? I just can't understand this idea or this need. I remember back in 2012 when Harvey Weinstein purchased the distribution rights for The Intouchables and he immediately announced that he was pushing to have it remade in English, which almost gave this impression that we should wait, not even bother seeing this movie that was receiving so much critical attention, because we'd be getting one we didn't have to read very soon (in fact, Kevin Hart and Colin Firth are set to star...and I'm speechless). They did with with Let the Right One In and most famously with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and so I ask...why? Even Michael Haneke pointlessly remade his own film, Funny Games, altering nothing, with an American cast. It would be different if these films were decades old, but most of these critically acclaimed foreign films are being remade in English within a few years time, some the following year!
Why aren't we remaking classic foreign films? Why are we so stuck in the immediate present?
And I know that some of these remakes work. In fact, I personally think that Fincher's version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is even better than the Swedish version, but it wasn't necessary, and even I (as a fan) can admit that.
And then we have this other issue of Martin Scorsese circling the idea of filming Macbeth. I don't like this. As we are well aware, we are already getting a film version of Macbeth this year, from Australian director Justin Kurzel, starring Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender. I find something almost offensive about Scorsese, this HUGE director, coming out with this news before Kurzel's film is even seen. It almost comes across like "don't worry that this nobody is trying his hand at this classic, for I'll be there to save the day soon" and I find that kind of irritating. Why can't we just see how Kurzel's film comes off first? Why can't we just allow Kurzel to have his moment (Snowtown Murders was a very well made film bursting with potential)?
Why do we need two Macbeth's so close together?
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think that foreign films are beneath American audiences? Instead of American studios and American directors grasping at foreign ideas in an attempt to make them their own, shouldn't they be helping to promote those foreign films to American audiences? Shouldn't we be urged to expand our cinematic horizons? Why do I have to drive over an hour to find a theater that will show a foreign film on one of their screens for a week's time? Why can't my local theater carry it...or is it because we'll have the American version soon enough, so why bother?
Do you think that we need more than one version of these stories, and so closely together at that?
Do you think that bigger name directors should allow these new directors, these fresh voices, their time to shine? Instead of snagging the spotlight, shouldn't directors like Scorsese be supporting the likes of Kurzel?