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Déjà vu

Posted August 02, 2011 to photo album "Déjà vu"

In adapting the Israeli thriller <em>Ha-Hov</em> into <em>The Debt</em>, John Madden enters the cinematic tradition of remaking foreign language films for English-speaking audiences. We look at some of the best foreign language adaptations, from transforming Kurosawa into a American western to popularizing Japanese horror.

Ha-Hov (2007) to The Debt (2010)
Seven Samurai (1954) to The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Yojimbo (1961) to A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
The Wages of Fear (1953) to Sorcerer (1977)
Viktor und Viktoria (1933) to Victor Victoria (1982)
Profumo di Donna (1974) to Scent of a Woman (1992)
Ringu (1998) to The Ring (2002)
Insomnia (1997) to Insomnia (2002)
Infernal Affairs (2002) to The Departed (2006)
Brødre (2004) to Brothers (2008)
Let the Right One In (2008) to Let Me In (2010)
Ringu (1998) to The Ring (2002)

Ringu (1998) to The Ring (2002)

Based on a novel by Kôji Suzuki, director Hideo Nakata's 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu caused a sensation on its domestic release, terrifying audiences who flocked in droves to see it and quickly made it the highest grossing horror in Japanese film history. The movie was understated and did not inspire fear in viewers through gore or monsters, but instead had at its core a brilliant, chilling plot device: a cursed video tape that dooms everyone who watches it to die within a week. (This narrative conceit actually had its roots in Hollywood filmmaking, as Kôji Suzuki revealed that he got the idea while watching Poltergeist.) Nakata's film did not get a U.S. release, and for a long time was only seen Stateside on grainy, pirated VHS copies that actually enhanced the film's eerie, chilling quality. As a result, most Americans came fresh to Gore Verbinski's 2002 remake, The Ring, which achieved similar success in scaring and deeply unsettling viewers. Verbinski was reverent in his approach to remaking the film, saying in an interview with the BBC, “I just tried to keep what's great in the original movie and improve it where I could. ”Reviewing The Ring for The Onion's A.V. Club, Keith Phipps wrote that “Verbinski creates an air of dread that begins with the first scene and never lets up, subtly incorporating elements from the current wave of Japanese horror films along the way. He succeeds mostly through sleight of hand. When the shocks come, they interrupt long stretches in which the camera lingers meaningfully as characters accumulate details that confirm what they already know: What they've seen will kill them, and soon.” Comparing Verbinski's and Nakata's films, Phipps' colleague Scott Tobias expressed the opinion that the remake actually topped the original, writing, “On balance, Gore Verbinski's faithful The Ring is the stronger of the two movies, with better performances, more polished and suspenseful set pieces, and an even distribution of scares between the chilling bookends.”