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Unbridling the Western Film Auteur

Contemporary, Transnational and Intertextual Explorations

Edited By Emma Hamilton and Alistair Rolls

According to Jim Kitses (1969), the Western originally offered American directors a rich canvas to express a singular authorial vision of the American past and its significance. The Western’s recognizable conventions and symbols, rich filmic heritage, and connections to pulp fiction created a widely spoken «language» for self-expression and supplemented each filmmaker’s power to express their vision of American society. This volume seeks to re-examine the significance of auteur theory for the Western by analysing the auteur director «unbridled» by traditional definitions or national contexts.

This book renders a complex portrait of the Western auteur by considering the genre in a transnational context. It proposes that narrow views of auteurism should be reconsidered in favour of broader definitions that see meaning created, both intentionally and unintentionally, by a director; by other artistic contributors, including actors and the audience; or through the intersection with other theoretical concepts such as re-allegorization. In so doing, it illuminates the Western as a vehicle for expressing complex ideas of national and transnational identity.


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10. ‘East meets West meets East again’: The Good, The Bad, The Weird and the Transnational Dialogue of Auteurs (Joyleen Christensen)


Joyleen Christensen 10 ‘East meets West meets East again’: The Good, The Bad, The Weird and the Transnational Dialogue of Auteurs Abstract Though it is easy to initially dismiss Kim Jee-woon’s 2008 film Joheunnom, Nabbeunnom, Isanghannom [좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈] – literally translated as The Good, The Bad, The Weird – as a direct pastiche of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Leone, 1966), an examination of how Kim employs variations on a range of tropes of the Western genre reveals that the Korean film is far from a straightforward imitation of the Sergio Leone classic. Utilizing the familiar plot of a thief, a hitman and a bounty hunter drawn together in a tense race to discover a buried treasure, The Good, The Bad, The Weird transposes the desperate search for confederate gold amidst the backdrop of the American Civil War with a battle to find Qing Dynasty treasures in the Manchurian desert during the time of Japan’s occupation of Korea. Like the Leone ‘Spaghetti Westerns’, Kim’s film – dubbed a ‘Kimchi Western’ – is highly stylized and hyper-violent, but it is here that the most dis- tinct departures can be noted. Essentially, the film acts less as a form of derivation of the original than as a more nuanced transnational translation, recreating the original story in such a way that it reflects Kim’s easy movement between genres alongside traces of the influence of other auteur directors – most notably, Quentin Tarantino. With an oft-noted emphasis upon humour and action, Kim’s film distinguishes itself, ultimately aligning itself more...

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