Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
Written by: Michel Hazanavicius
Starring: Brahim Chioua, Alain de la Mata, Noémie Devide, Vincent Maraval, John Penotti
Synopsis: Things go badly for a small film crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie when they are attacked by real zombies.
Grimmfest say: Talk about unlikely… The Red Carpet Gala Opening film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival was a high-end French remake of Shin’ichirô Ueda’s groundbreaking micro-budget classic ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, by the Oscar-winning writer-director of THE ARTIST, featuring A list stars Romain Duris, Berenice Bejo and Matilda Lutz in the lead roles. Adhering quite closely to the structure of the original, but shot France, in French, with (white) French actors, the film adds a whole new layer of metatextual mischief by retaining all of the Japanese character names and location-specific references for the opening act, tipping the nod even to those unfamiliar with the original film that something is really not right here, and creating the impression for those who have seen it that they are watching something akin to Gus Van Sant’s disorientating shot-for-shot PSYCHO remake. But stick with it. An explanation is coming, all be it a deliberately ridiculous one, as the film confronts head-on its own uneasy status as a remake, and becomes a mordantly funny meditation on the complexities, compromises and cultural confusions of the international film trade, what gets lost in translation in remaking any film for an entirely new market, and the struggles of the ambitious filmmaker to keep any kind of creative control in the face of corporate intransigence and on-set chaos. Beautifully played, and filled with deft character details and sharply funny insights into the filmmaking process, capturing well the onset camaraderie among the escalating stress and confusion, and with a genuinely uplifting and triumphant finale, it’s that rarest of things, a remake that can not only stand alongside the original in terms of quality, but which also finds a way to build on many of its themes, and add some new twists of its own.
What I'm expecting: To say I have no idea what to expect here is an understatement. One Cut of the Dead was one of the funniest, most inventive and best zombie films of recent times; a real crowd-pleaser that no one expected. And now Michel Hazanavicius brings us a French-language remake. Normally I'd say this was a bad thing, a soulless cash grab even. You've only got to look to American cinema to see how many remakes of classic films are made for no reason other than easy money (I'm looking at you Disney!). However, it seems that with Final Cut, what Hazanavicius is giving us is a film satirising the nature of these pointless remakes and their bastardization of the original work. And I'm all here for that! Final Cut is one of the few films I can take a surface look at and just know I'm going to love it. If this is done right, it'll be a great addition to the One Cut of the Dead canon. But there's no denying that it's got some pretty big boots to fill!