Metanarratives of Gender in Transnational Film Remakes: The Case of Miss Granny

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


The strong film industries in East and South Asia over the past thirty years have led to an increase in transcultural remakes, both between Asia and Hollywood and amongst industries in the Asian region. Modifications are determined by attempts to glocalise the pre-text, or to go further, as Hollywood is often presumed to do, and substitute local cultural identities, beliefs and behaviours. Such replacement is apt to be less extensive in East Asia where, in particular, China, Japan and South Korea historically have shared and intermingled many cultural beliefs and practices. This paper will compare two sets of film remakes: on the one hand, a Hollywood remake of a Japanese film, Shall We Dance? (Japan, 1996; Hollywood, 2004), and on the other remakes of the South Korean box office hit Suspicious Girl (in English as Miss Granny, 2014) in China (as 20 Once Again, 2015), Vietnam (as Sweet 20, 2016) and Japan (as Suspicious Girl, 2016, released with the English title, Sing My Life). The principal character in each of the origin films is at a point in life where she or he feels alienated from society and family and is lonely. Sugiyama (Shall We Dance?) is a salaryman, with little in his life but his job; Oh Mal-soon is a grumpy old woman who sows discord in her family and is asked to leave. The story of each turns on a refashioning of subjectivity as each is “remade” by finding a means of creative physical expression (dance and song, respectively). The transformation script which underlies origin films and remakes serves as a platform for rethinking femininity, masculinity and the gendering of the self, and the ways this change is represented in various cultures establishes an effective dialogue between films and societies about the continuing gender project.
Period27 Nov 2019
Held atUniversity of Nottingham Ningbo China, China
Degree of RecognitionInternational