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Remaking identities and stereotypes : how film remakes transform and reinforce nationality, disability, and gender

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

When films are being remade, they undergo several transformations, including changes related to (the representation of) national, disability, and gender identities. By drawing on the case of the Flemish film Hasta La Vista and its Dutch remake Adios Amigos, this article critically investigates the (dis)similarities on these levels through the prism of the film remake. Both films are popular road trip movies dealing with the adventure of three friends with disabilities who overcome boundaries in multiple ways not only by figuratively (and almost literally) escaping their parents and their disabilities but also through traveling, exploring sexuality, and eventually by dying. Although the films deal with almost exactly the same themes, their interpretation and contextualization differ considerably. Our findings show that as a consequence of the localizing processes embedded in film remakes, subtexts which were 'originally' ingrained in the source text were ignored or even withheld in the newer version. As the involved filmmakers built on particular stereotypical visions and myths about these specific cultures and national identities, often with the purpose of recreating a socio-cultural context, such narrowed perceptions were occasionally subverted but also reconsolidated. Finally, we argue that, through the remake process, some ableist and patronizing representations of, respectively, disability and gender identities were subverted, while others were kept or even reinforced. Our results show that such transformations point toward specific socio-culturally defined disability and gender identities but also toward a shared and almost universally shaped disability and gender culture.
ISSN: 1460-3551
Issue: 5-6
Volume: 22
Pages: 613 - 629
Publication year:2019