Sony Pictures Classic has acquired the North American rights to legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s latest, currently untitled film. This is not really big news considering that the studio has previously handled distribution for ten of the director’s earlier works, including “Raise the Red Lantern” and “House of Flying Daggers”. No, the really cool part of this story is the nature of Zhang Yimou’s next project – a remake of the Coen Brother’s very first feature film “Blood Simple”. To find out why, in this case, a remake of an excellent film is NOT a bad idea follow the jump…
Last summer Zhang Yimou made an impression on non-film-geek Americans with his stunning opening sequence to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. If that was your only knowledge of the work of Zhang Yimou you might feel a concerned that a Chinese remake would turn the intimate “Blood Simple” into an epic spectacle – with drum solos. After all, America has been ruining the finest movies Asia has to offer for years now – why shouldn’t the cinematic disrespect go both ways? But let me assuage those fears – the beloved first film of our American Coen Brothers could not be in better hands.
Full disclosure, Zhang Yimou is probably my favorite director. I cannot think of a single film of his that failed to engross me – although the fact that I do not understand Chinese could be the reason that his films seem so fresh when compared to contemporary American pieces. I’m pretty much down for whatever the man wants to put up on the screen – even a two hour examination of a woman whose husband has bruised testicles (“The Story of Qiu Ju”) is better than anything Shawn Levy could ever hope to direct.
That being said, the Coen Brothers ain’t too bad either. I can think of a single film of the Coen’s that failed to engross me – but when their good films are as good as “Miller’s Crossing” I’m certainly not going to hold one “The Ladykillers” against them. “Blood Simple” is the film that started it all back in 1984, and if you haven’t seen it (or haven’t seen it in 20 years) I suggest you go back and have a second look. It’ll make that “No Country for Old Men” Oscar seem 25 years overdue.
Add all of that fawning adoration up and what do you get? A girl that is totally excited to see whatever version of the Coen’s “Blood Simple” that Zhang Yimou comes up with. Here is the brief synopsis that Sony Pictures Classic included with their press release:
Zhang’s film will be a thriller-comedy remake of Joel & Ethan Coen’s “Blood Simple”, set in a Chinese noodle shop in a sand dune-specked desert, rather than a bar in an unnamed Texas town. The owner of the noodle shop’s seemingly simple plan to murder his adulterous wife and her lover quickly spins out of control after the introduction of a gun into the lives of characters more accustomed to knives and swords.