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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

entry arrow3:58 PM | Queer Birds

Martin Scorsese's The Departed versus Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak's Infernal Affairs? I find it utterly pretentious when cineastes all go snotty and say the original's always better.

Many times, that's true (compare Peque Gallaga's Scorpio Nights and its horrid South Korean remake, Jae-ho Park's Summer Time, or George Sluizer's excellent and scary Spoorloos from 1988 and his own English language 1993 remake and inexplicable dud, The Vanishing).

Sometimes that's downright false (compare Roy del Ruth's The Maltese Falcon and the definitive John Huston remake).

But most of the time, the original and its remake can stand beside each other and in many ways, even complement each other. I like both Billy Wilder's and Sydney Pollack's versions of Sabrina (although you can make a case of Audrey Hepburn trumping Julia Ormond anytime). Or Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's and Peter Jackson's King Kong. Or Todd Haynes's Far from Heaven (2002), which is a more revelatory version of Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows (1955). Or Andrew Davis's The Fugitive (1993), which was based on a popular 1960s television series.

This afternoon, I just got off watching Edouard Molinaro's wonderful 1978 farce La Cage aux Folles, and I remember Mike Nichol's 1996 version, The Birdcage. While there are many similarities as well as a slew of differences, they both provide significant trans-Atlantic takes in the story of two senior gay men couple -- one of whom is a funnily insecure nightclub transvestite diva -- and the comedic lengths they go to to conceal their "lifestyle" in order to dine with their grownup son's very conservative prospective in-laws. The French-Italian version has teeth and edge, while the American one is largely soft and pillowy. But I like them both very much. It's like choosing between red and blue M&Ms: both may be colored differently, but they are still the same sweet, crunchy stuff.

But then again, in the original, you also have this:


Here's a sobering thought however: Remi Laurent, the actor who played the son, died of AIDS in 1989.

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