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Transnational Film Remakes$
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Iain Robert Smith and Constantine Verevis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474407236

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474407236.001.0001

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Reinterpreting Revenge: Authorship, Excess and the Critical Reception of Spike Lee’s Oldboy

Reinterpreting Revenge: Authorship, Excess and the Critical Reception of Spike Lee’s Oldboy

Chapter:
(p.195) 12. Reinterpreting Revenge: Authorship, Excess and the Critical Reception of Spike Lee’s Oldboy
Source:
Transnational Film Remakes
Author(s):

Daniel Martin

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474407236.003.0013

Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy (2003) achieved only moderate success on its initial release in South Korea, but upon finding international distribution it attained much greater notoriety, winning a major prize at Cannes and attracting an unusually passionate and positive critical consensus. This chapter examines Spike Lee’s 2013 transnational film remake in terms of its critical reception, and the way in which the ‘reinterpretation’ was framed by its director in press interviews and public discourse. The chapter analyses how Lee attempted to escape the negative connotations of the ‘remake’ and brand his film as another entry in his own auteurist canon, despite the sceptical response from critics. This chapter further analyses the reception of the film in terms of the ways critics address the spectacle of violence, notions of taste, and the assumed cultural differences between American and South Korean audiences. Lee’s Oldboy thus offers the opportunity not only to examine the transformation of material from one director to another, but to interrogate broader debates over the intersection of the auteur as symbol/brand and the imagined (lack of) creative freedom afforded directors of remakes.

Keywords:   Transnational film remakes, Oldboy (2003/2013), Spike Lee, Park Chan-wook, East Asian cinema

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