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Monday, August 19, 2013

Geez, People Who Go See Foreign Arthouse Movies, Why Are You So Stupid?

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 11:14 AM

THE GRANDMASTER Shortened for American audiences.
  • THE GRANDMASTER Shortened for American audiences.

Hey, here's a movie that sounds like it'll be worth seeing! Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster! Being released here in the States by The Weinstein Co.! Wait.

Though the new film has played in China, abroad and in festivals, the version being released in the United States is a shorter cut. The American edit, with his approval, adds explanatory titles, character names and some different footage and hews to a more linear chronology. The highlights remain, like an almost phantasmagorical fight that takes place inches away from a roaring train in winter. (Via.)

Huh. Weird. Oh well. Hey, here's another movie that sounds like it'll be worth seeing! Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer! Being released here in the states by the Weinstein Co.! Oh. What the—

With the film's strong reception in Korea, importing it as-is would seem like a no-brainer. But as rumors would have it, the film is facing a Harvey Weinstein-shaped roadblock. Last week, Australia's Inside Film reported that Weinstein, whose company has distribution rights in the U.S. and elsewhere, wants to chop 20 minutes off of the 126 minute film. (Considering a number of this summer's blockbusters ran around two and a half hours, 126 minutes doesn't seem very long to us.) Inside Film sourced British film festival programmer Tony Rayns, who said the cuts would make the film a more traditional action movie that would appeal to the "presumed level of American mid-west hicks." (Via.)

Man... well, okay. Moving on, here's something else you might be interested in! Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo, which will be... oh, goddammit. Thirty-six minutes shorter?

After debuting in late April in Gondry’s native France, Mood Indigo went on to open the Karlovy Vary Film Festival on June 28, where reviews were encouraging if not universally glowing (at the very least, the movie promises to exist more firmly within the tradition of Gondry’s active formal imagination than his recent The We and the I). However, Vendetta Films, a New Zealand-based distributor, has now announced that, “only a new version of Mood Indigo will be screened and released…in all territories outside of France.” (Via.)

If only there were some sort of... network... of... interconnected computers... that one could somehow use to, I don't know... "download" the original cuts of films? The versions that haven't been dumbed down for us? If only.

Until that glorious day, I leave you with some quotes from Wong Kar-wai and Grandmaster stars Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi.

"The U.S. version is more straightforward and linear," Mr. Wong explains. "The Chinese audience is more interested in experiencing the history. In the U.S., it's more about the story."

"I think it's wise for him to do a version for Americans," says Tony Leung, who plays the lead role of Ip Man, the real-life Chinese martial arts grandmaster of the early 20th century who famously was Bruce Lee's childhood instructor. "It's much easier for them to follow."

"In my opinion, I like the American one," says Zhang Ziyi, who in her role as the headstrong Gong Er is Ip Man's (fictitious) romantic interest and fighting rival. "It's clearer. Easier for foreigners." (Via.)

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