Rip-Off or Resourceful Creativity? is the title of the latest special issue (edited by Sarah Smyth and Connor McMorran) of the Frames Cinema Journal, focusing on remakes. It features an article called Reframing the remake: Dutch-Flemish monolingual remakes and their theoretical and conceptual implications, by Eduard Cuelenaere, Stijn Joye and myself. The article offers some first theoretical reflections on remakes and the academic field of remake studies, stemming from our recently started research project on Dutch-Flemish remakes (cf. this previous blog post). You can read the article at full length here.
In the article, we explicitly take distance from ‘anti-remake debates’ offering a normative standpoint towards remakes. We instead aim for a more nuanced reading of the remake practice. Our argument is based upon an examination of Dutch-Flemish remakes, which proves to be an original contribution to the field of remake studies, as well as an excellent exemplar in the context of the deconstruction and reframing of discourses about the global remake practice. As a first step, we claim that the non-commercial aura of the European remake should be revisited because the Dutch-Flemish monolingual remakes clearly disclose a similar incentive to the one that often inspires Hollywood remakes: financial gains. Furthermore, our case underlines the need for a more nuanced understanding of intercultural media practices, including the cultural proximity theory. Lastly, we reveal a remarkable discrepancy between the essentialist conception of cultural identity—that is put forward by remake directors—and the constructionist conception, which is dominant in scholarly discussions.
Since a few years, I’ve been following a remarkable film production trend in the Low Countries with special attention: the practice of popular Dutch films being remade in the same language in Flanders, and vice versa. After having reflected informally about this – from an international viewpoint highly exceptional – phenomenon of remaking films within a same language region of barely 23 million speakers with my colleague Stijn Joye, we wrote a research project proposal to critically investigate this emerging trend. We were very happy to obtain funding from the Research Foundation Flanders, and since 1 September, Eduard Cuelenaere works as a PhD candidate on this project, which aims to scrutinize the various cultural and economic dynamics and dimensions involved in the Flemish-Dutch remake phenomenon. I’m looking forward to work more intensively on this project in the coming years…
Last week, Eduard presented this research project for the first time, at the ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association) conference in Prague. At that same conference, I was elected as chair of the Film Studies section (after having served four years as Young Scholars Representative of the Film Studies section). Together with the two other chairs, Laura Rascaroli (University College Cork) and Sergio Villanueva Baselga (University of Barcelona), I will do my best to increase the significance of film studies within a media and communication research context, and to organize a conference in Cork in 2017! A big thank you to the chairs who are stepping down, Helle Kannik Haastrup and Anders Marklund, for all their hard work in the last years!