Monday, 4 July 2011

Viewed in Translation

"That'll be awful." says The Old Man.

He's caught me reading the blurb for the U.S. TV crime serial "The Killing" going out on Channel 4 later this week.

It's a remake of the Danish serial "The Killing" ("Forbrydelsen"), which we became hooked on when it was shown on BBC4 earlier this year - as did many others.

"I thought you could record it for me?... and I could try it out... like when you are washing up and stuff?"

(Mental image of "Disdainful Old Man Look" that substitutes for a reply.)

What is it about America constantly remaking European films and TV?

The other night we start watching a DVD set of Lars von Trier's 1994 Danish serial "The Kingdom": a dark satire, combined with spooky thing, which is set in a huge modern hospital built upon the site of a marsh. (Click here for a trailer.)

I'm watching... and it seems familiar to me but not quite...
So I check it up. And find that I have watched the 2004 U.S. version, which was set in an East Coast hospital built on the site of a civil war sweatshop. (Click here for a taster of that one.) This is always described as Stephen King's "Kingdom Hospital". And I had no idea that it was based on von Trier's original.

I mean, it feels now as if European films or TV series are only just released before the U.S. producers are remaking whatever it is: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "Let the Right One In"... the aforesaid "The Killing"....

Don't believe me? I found a Reuters article from February this year entitled "U.S. studios scour Europe for movie remakes".

Perhaps it is considered "un-American" to read subtitles?

No comments: