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High anxiety: Abre los ojos/Vanilla Sky

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This paper discusses Alejandro Amenábar's Abre los ojos (1997) [Open Your Eyes] and its remake Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky (2001). The paper begins with an overview of recent scholarship on remakes (which focus on Hollywood versions of French films) and suggests that the simple opposition between ‘original’ and ‘copy’ is no longer tenable. The paper then sketches the background of Spanish production, distribution and exhibition against which Amenábar emerged as the best-known young director of the 1990s. The analysis of Abre los ojos which follows focuses on dislocation and disfigurement as the two main themes. Vanilla Sky, starring and co-produced by Tom Cruise, reworks those themes in a newly emphatic manner. Where Amenábar's city is anonymous (albeit recognizable as Madrid), Crowe's New York location is heavily stressed; and where the Spanish protagonist is a young rich kid, the North American is a corporate mogul on the brink of middle age. The conclusion argues that this example of the remake reveals with particular intensity the conflict between the formal and the industrial at the heart of cinema.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2004

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