Film remakes, the black sheep of translation

Jonathan Evans

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Film remakes have often been neglected by translation studies in favour of other forms of audiovisual translation such as subtitling and dubbing. Yet, as this article will argue, remakes are also a form of cinematic translation. Beginning with a survey of previous, ambivalent approaches to the status of remakes, it proposes that remakes are multimodal, adaptive translations: they translate the many modes of the film being remade and offer a reworking of that source text. The multimodal nature of remakes is explored through a reading of Breathless, Jim McBride's 1983 remake of Jean-Luc Godard's À bout de souffle (1959), which shows how remade films may repeat the narrative of, but differ on multiple levels from, their source films. Due to the collaborative nature of film production, remakes involve multiple agents of translation. As such, remakes offer an expanded understanding of audiovisual translation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-314
Number of pages15
JournalTranslation Studies
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014


  • film remakes
  • multimodal translation
  • Breathless
  • textual networks
  • corporate authorship
  • À bout de souffle


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