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Zhang Yimou's 'Blood simple': cannibalism, remaking and translation in world cinema

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Zhang Yimou’s 'A woman, a gun and a noodle shop' (2009) remakes the Coen brothers’ 'Blood simple' (1984) in a way that re-imagines the earlier film in a Chinese setting, adapting and recreating the narrative, but the film cannot be regarded as being aimed solely at a Chinese audience, as it was also released in the United States and United Kingdom. Drawing from translation studies and film studies, this article analyses how Zhang’s film adapts its source material, particularly its tendency to make explicit elements that were left implicit in the source text. The idea of cannibalization, from Brazilian modernist theory, helps explain the ambiguous orientation of the remake as both homage to and localization of the source text. This hybridity was not well received by American audiences and shows how the movie’s connection to both Zhang and the Coens leads to a dual voice in the film. The analysis demonstrates how translation and cross-cultural adaptation enrich ideas of world cinema.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-297
JournalJournal of Adaptation in Film and Performance
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

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