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[FILM] Hollywood Imports Scripts from Asia

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  • madchinaman
    Hollywood Imports Scripts from Asia NCM Interview, Donal Brown, Nov 28, 2004 http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2004
      Hollywood Imports Scripts from Asia
      NCM Interview,
      Donal Brown, Nov 28, 2004
      http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?
      article_id=7736fa843baba7d2a9d6a50846ae0339


      A Duke University expert on Asian film says that global flow in the
      film industry has meant an increase in the `Asianization' of
      Hollywood films to match the long-standing influence of Holywood
      films on Asia.

      Professor Leo Ching, chair of the Asian and African Languages and
      Literature Department, says that remakes of Asian films that are big
      hits in the United States often reflect the influence of Hollywood
      on Asian directors.

      "Hollywood is not being taken over by Asian cinema. In fact, it's
      the reverse. It only works because of the Hollywoodization of Asian
      cinema," he says.

      Afterall, says Ching, Asian audiences have been viewing U.S. films
      for 20 to 30 years and have acquired a taste for them. Seventy-eight
      percent of the Thailand box office is Hollywood films. It's an
      astonishing 65 percent of the box office in Japan.

      Audiences here and in Asia have a "shared experience of how to watch
      a film," says Ching.

      Capitalizing on this shared experience, prominent U.S. director
      Quentin Tarantino created the wildly popular "Kill Bill" series,
      which featured the best of the Japanese and Hong Kong film action
      genre. He has recently announced that his next film will be entirely
      in Mandarin Chinese.

      When films cross national boundaries, there is often a process
      of "localization" according to Ching. This makes the films lose
      their foreignness and become more interesting and acceptable to a
      broad audience.

      For example, the U.S. remake of the Japanese horror movie, "The
      Grudge," was a box office hit.

      On the other hand, a smash hit in Asia is not a sure bet in the
      United States. Ching says that "Shaolin Soccer," a fascinating mix
      of soccer and martial arts, did not succeed in the U.S. It may have
      had something to do with it being dubbed. The industry is now re-
      releasing the film with subtitles, more familiar to U.S. audiences,
      hoping for greater acceptability.

      In the 1960s, the Japanese film industry produced a number of films
      without Hollywood values, films that showed the common life,
      everyday occurrences at a slow pace. They failed to capture the
      attention of a wide audience here owing to their lack of excitement.

      Contrast those films to a film like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden
      Dragon," one of the first films employing Hollywood-style action and
      suspense to showcase the magic of martial arts cinematography
      popular in Hong Kong for years. It was a box office success and
      nominated for best director (Ang Lee) and best film. It won Oscars
      for cinematography and art direction.

      The South Korean film industry is vibrant and produces many scripts
      for Hollywood films. In the same way, Asian filmmakers buy proven
      products from the U.S. for remaking in Asia.

      Ching sees many positives for the world's film industry. There is a
      sharing of ideas and a revitalization. But, he warns, in localizing
      foreign products to make them less alien, commercial values can
      prevail at the cost of creativity.

      "Film makers are less likely to do independent films which take
      chances with new forms, story lines and narrative techniques.
      Commercializaton flattens out different possibilities," says Ching.
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