Sweded Movies: The Fans Talk Back
from the losing-control dept
One of the defining characteristics of the digital world -- and one of the problems for copyright law, which was conceived in an analog age -- is the importance of being able to build on the work of others not just indirectly, but directly, through mashups or the re-use of existing material. Stig Rudeholm points us to a fascinating feature in the Guardian about "sweded movies": home-made tributes to Hollywood titles that adopt precisely this approach of creative re-interpretation. The name apparently comes from the film "Be Kind Rewind", where DIY imitations of studio favorites are passed off as Swedish editions.
As the article's author, Ben Walters, writes, beyond the surface humor, there's something interesting happening here:
sweded movies are a form of talking back to Hollywood. Along with recut trailers and "supercuts" of familiar tropes, they represent a fledgling digital moving-image culture that presents a radical challenge to the mainstream movie industry. They are created as fun for fans but the ideas of entitlement and agency underpinning these videos will shape how we all consume -- and produce -- moving images in the 21st century. They are a taste of what comes after Hollywood.
He gives some examples of that "talking back":
see, for instance, the video The Star Wars That I Used to Know, which combines anti-Lucas sentiment with Gotye's music. The same sense of media-savvy pushback is evident in trailers that reconfigure The Shining as a family comedy or Mrs Doubtfire as a stalker horror; and in supercuts that point out how much Julianne Moore likes to cry or how often the word "fuck" is used in The Big Lebowski.
What's striking about these, he suggests, is the lack of traditional deference to Hollywood and its highly-paid artists. Films are no longer immaculate creations that can be looked at but not touched; instead, cinema has become a store of images, sounds and symbols to be constantly reshuffled, re-used and reshaped in new works of sweded art, offering yet another example of lowered barriers to creativity brought about by low-cost digital technology.