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Posts Tagged ‘Diane Kruger’

Have we run out of ideas?  below are the Synopsis for three TV shows.

  1. “When a body is found on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, right on the border, Danish inspector Martin Rohde and Swedish Saga Norén have to share jurisdiction and work together to find the killer.”Bron Broen
  2. “Two detectives work together to take down a serial killer operating on both sides of the Texas-Chihuahua border.”the brigde
  3. “Set primarily in Folkestone and Calais where detectives Karl Roebuck and Elise Wassermann are called to investigate the death of a French politician. When a shocking discovery is made at the crime scene, the pair is forced into an uneasy partnership as they seek out a politically-motivated serial killer who draws them into his own personal agenda.”The Tunnel

Sound familurar, they are all based on the same story.  The first is the Danish/Swedish co production Broen (Danish) , Bron (Swedish) or, The Bridge in UK and US.  Created and written by Hans Rosenfeldt, The Bridge Scandinavian crime drama based on the premise of an unusual murder investigation.  The body is found on the half way point of the Øresund Bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark, giving the two countries joint jurisdiction.  The interesting this about the show isn’t the plot or the premise, or the haunting opening music (Hollow Talk by the Copenhagen band Choir of Young Believers) but the characters.  Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) from the Sweden Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) from Demark.  Hugley different characters they make a surprisingly formidable team.  At first there appears to be something a little odd about Saga, her idiosyncrasies are never totally explained but most viewers have come to the conclusion that she has Asperger’s syndrome.Sofia Helin

The second is the American remake, also called The Bridge, made and broadcast by FX.  Set between El Paso and Juarez and taking the same idea of a body found between the two justifications.  Diane Kruger plays the US Detective Sonya Cross and Demián Bichir plays Mexican Detective Marco Ruiz. The Third description is for The Tunnel, a British/French co production.  This time the body is found, you guessed it, in the Channel Tunnel.  Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy play the English and French detectives respectively.

Although I have watched both seasons of the Scandinavian original, I haven’t seen either of the two remakes.  I have heard reasonable reports on them and am sure they are perfectly entertaining programs, as much as I like Diane Kruger, Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy I cannot imagine anyone other than Sofia Helin and Kim Bodniain the parts.  Like a cover version of a song you love, it may be okay but do you really need it?  but it goes further with a TV show.  A singer may bring something new to a song, but is a remake of TV show just a cynical attempt to cash in on a successful idea?  But what of my original question.  Have we run out of ideas?  Yes and No!  The original show demonstrates that there are still original ideas out there.  But cinemas are filled with sequels, reboots and English Language remakes of European and Asian films.  But Television is in danger of going the same way.  I don’t think we have run out of ideas, it is just that in this supposed golden age of television the stakes are so high many have lost their nerve and are afraid of the new and would rather embrace the familiar.  That is why as audiences we owe it to ourselves to support the best and the most original while ignoring the generic and unoriginal.  Kim Bodnia

I am looking forward to next year’s third season of Bron/Broen but will I watch either remake? Probably not.

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When visiting my parents or talking to then on the telephone they often ask what movies I have seen, if I respond with the name of a film they haven’t heard of my mom, knowing I watch a lot of foreign language movies will ask “is it foreign”. On more than one occasion I have given the somewhat flippant and slightly rude response “yes, American”. It is funny that a movie made five thousand miles away in Hollywood is familiar and not foreign because it is in something similar to “The Queens English”, and yet something made across the channel in France, still on the same continent as England, is in some way foreign and exotic. Maybe we are two nations joined by a common language and not divided by it as George Bernard Shaw quipped. Whatever the reason, as we step below the surface of these idea we find an interesting thing, filmmaking does exist beyond the bright lights of Hollywood, both in Europe and in the rest of America.Mean Streets The Terminator Blood Simple Memento

When I talk about American independent cinema it isn’t just the obvious and seminal movies like Easy Rider (1969) (Dennis Hopper) or Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) (Monte Hellman) or the small no budget movies that you have never heard of. Think of some of the biggest name directors working today: Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ethan and Joel Coen, Christopher Nolan, then look at their independent films Mean Streets (1973), The Terminator (1984), Blood Simple (1984), Memento (2000) . Sam Raimi may be making money movies for Disney now but it all started with Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead II (1987). Would George Lucas have made Star Wars (1977), if he hadn’t already made THX-1138 (1971) or the hugely profitable American Graffiti (1973)? Then there are directors like David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino and Darren Aronofsky that are just more comfortable outside or on the edge of the system. There was a time before he started believing his own publicity that Kevin Smith was the darling of the indie scene thanks to the cult status of Clerks (1994), but before that came Richard Linklater’s Slacker (1991). A day in the life of various social outcasts and misfits held together by loose strands and an even looser narrative, the style and the realistic dialogue became a blueprint for a generation. Linklater wasn’t seduced by Hollywood instead he remained in Austin and two years later he came up with Dazed And Confused (1993).Dazed And Confused Clerks THX 1138 Evil Dead

The same can be said for foreign language cinema, it isn’t all about weird esoteric art house movies, there are many accessible movies not in the English language. Not that the weird esoteric art house movies are a bad thing, they are just not the best place to start. The test as to if a movie is accessible and worth seeing is simple, would you watch it if it were in English? If the answer is yes, it is worth a look. There were two movies that seemed to cross the language barrier that came out within a year of each other just over a decade ago: Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie (2001). Many of the people who watched and enjoyed them wouldn’t normally have seen a movie in another language. There have been some interesting examples too; the French thriller Tell No One (2006) is very American in its style, no great surprise, it is based on an American novel (of the same name) by Harlan Coben. A Hollywood remake was supposed to have been made but it doesn’t appear to have materialised yet. The same can’t be said for Anything for Her (2008), it took just two years for the American remake The Next Three Days to hit cinema screens. Both Tell No One and Anything for Her benefited from the presence of actresses familiar to English speaking audiences Kristin Scott Thomas and Diane Kruger respectively. On the subject of remakes the terrible Queen Latifah movie Taxi (2004) is a remake of a great French movie also called Taxi (1998). It has spawned three sequels (the first of which is also really good) the movies are notable for lots of things including significant early roles for Marion Cotillard.Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Amélie Tell No One Anything for Her

When I first saw Oldboy (2003) it immediately became one of my all time favourite films. I didn‘t expect it to have gained the following that it has, I also didn‘t think Hollywood would dare to touch it, but they have the American remake of Park Chan-wook’s vengeance movievis in production and is set for release later this year, it is directed by Spike Lee. The other movie that plays well to British and American audiences is Run Lola Run (1998). It put its German star Franka Potente and director and Tom Tykwer onto the international stage both have worked in American and their native Germany many times since. But I can trace my first experience of a foreign language movie back a little further than that. In 1990 I read a review of a film I really wanted to see Nikita (1990). At fourteen years old I didn’t have a chance of getting into see it at the cinema to see the eighteen certificate movie, but a couple of months later (when I was fifteen) renting the video was surprisingly easy. Its impact in America was such that it spawned a Hollywood remake and two television series. Its director Luc Besson’s next two films Léon (1994) and The Fifth Element (1997) were in English.Oldboy Run Lola Run Nikita Taxi

I have done little more than scratch the surface of independent and foreign langue movies, but I hope I have inspired at least one person to look below the tent-pole blockbuster and popcorn movie and towards the smaller films that don’t get all the publicity. Many of them will get limited runs in big multiplexes but others are harder to find, but if this means you are also helping to support your local independent cinema’s it’s an added bonus. As you grow to love them as much as I do you will look deeper and further back at older movies and a whole world of cinema will open up to you. I know that I am to a certain extent preaching to the converted as many readers are film fans and bloggers themselves and are far more cineliterate than me.

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