[Marxism] Has Uncle Sam Plundered Hong Kong?

Michael Hoover hooverm at scc-fl.edu
Sun Jan 22 18:00:09 MST 2006


> <http://www.hkfilmart.com/newsread.asp?newsid=1051>;
>
> Has Uncle Sam Plundered Hong Kong?
> December 2005
>
> Martin Scorsese recently arrived back in the US after a long European
> trip following the completion of the shoot for his upcoming gangster
> flick "The Departed", a remake of "Infernal Affairs", directed by Wai
> Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak. "Infernal" is HK's fifth highest grossing
> film of the past two decades, having taken HK$55,063,646 at the local
> BO.
>
> The question many are asking is: will "The Departed" merely be a
> bland Americanization riding the wave of popularity of an
> idiosyncratically HK production? Will Scorsese's remake overshadow
> the achievements of this 'fragrant harbour'?
>
> Because Martin Scorsese is helming the project many in the West are
> willing to see this as a stand-alone instance of a film artist
> remaking a movie from a culture whose cinematic heritage he admires,
> rather than as part of a larger trend involving Hollywood's
> aggressive push into the HK marketplace.
>
> Chris Doyle, cinematographer for such quintessentially HK films as
> "Chungking Express" and "In the Mood for Love", feels strongly about
> the Americans appropriating HK movies and keeping every aspect of
> them except their HK identity.
>
> He said, "I find it disappointing, if not depressing, to see someone
> of the integrity and scholarship of Marty apparently not knowing or
> caring where the original originates from, which I find insulting to
> our integrity and efforts, our energy and perseverance..." He
> continued: "to have something fall into one's lap because one is
> supposedly competent in a certain kind of filmmaking is exactly why
> accountants are making non-subtitled versions of what we do."
>
> What then is the responsibility of filmmakers such as Scorsese in
> preserving national cinemas, such as HK's?
>
> Derek Elley, Senior Film Critic, Intl. at trade journal Variety, told
> me that he doesn't "think a remake need have any loyalty to the
> original, especially if it's in a different culture. Industries
> remake films, either credited or uncredited, the whole time, and HK
> has probably 'remade' far more US  films than the other way round!
> And they remade them as totally HK  films."
>
> HK cinematic culture might be plundered by US studios trying to
> alchemically transform these movies into American gold, but the
> originals continue to fascinate. For many in the West, HK cinema is
> still a misty horizon over which strange and fascinating things float
> and which, though integrated into non-Asian cultures, never quite
> loses the exotic flavour of its origins.
>
> "The Departed" is currently scheduled for US release in November 2006.
>
>Saul Symonds
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