Journal of Romance Studies

High anxiety: Abre los ojos/Vanilla Sky

Journal of Romance Studies (2004), 4, (1), 91–102.

Abstract

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.

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Fernández-Santos, Elsa (2002) ‘Tom Cruise y Penélope Cruz dan la cara’, El País (27 January), 34. Tom Cruise y Penélope Cruz dan la cara El País 34 Google Scholar

Fischer, Lucy (1998) ‘Modernity and postmaternity: High Heels and Imitation of Life’, in Horton and McDougal, 200–16. Modernity and postmaternity: High Heels and Imitation of Life 200 16 Google Scholar

Forrest, Jennifer and Leonard R. Koos (eds) (2002) Dead Ringers: The Remake in Theory and Practice (Albany NY: SUNY Press). Dead Ringers: The Remake in Theory and Practice Google Scholar

Frater, Patrick and Jeremy Kay (2003) ‘What makes a good remake?’, Screen International (6 June), 9. What makes a good remake? Screen International 9 Google Scholar

Heredero, Carlos F. (1997) Espejo de miradas (Alcalá de Henares: Festival de cine). Espejo de miradas Google Scholar

Heredero, Carlos F. (1999) 20 nuevos directores del cine español (Madrid: Alianza). 20 nuevos directores del cine español Google Scholar

Hopewell, John (1999a) ‘Int’l success at last: sales push Spanish helmers beyond auteur status’, Variety (19–25 April), 33, 40. Int’l success at last: sales push Spanish helmers beyond auteur status Variety 33 40 Google Scholar

Hopewell, John (1999b) ‘The gain in Spain … falls mainly on a recent burst of hit local pix’, Variety (16–22 August), 18. The gain in Spain … falls mainly on a recent burst of hit local pix Variety 18 Google Scholar

Horton, Andrew and Stuart Y. McDougal (eds) (1998) Play It Again Sam: Retakes on Remakes (Berkeley: University of California Press). Play It Again Sam: Retakes on Remakes Google Scholar

Mazdon, Lucy (2000) Encore Hollywood: Remaking French Cinema (London: BFI). Encore Hollywood: Remaking French Cinema Google Scholar

Naumann, Nils (1999) ‘“Dos para la de Kidman”’, El País (18 September), 24. “Dos para la de Kidman” El País 24 Google Scholar

Pérez Templado, Mariola (1999) ‘Película aburrida’, ABC (23 October), 12. Película aburrida ABC 12 Google Scholar

Redbus (1999) Open Your Eyes [press-book] (London). Open Your Eyes Google Scholar

Sempere, Antonio (2000) Alejandro Amenábar: cine en las venas (Madrid: Nuer). Alejandro Amenábar: cine en las venas Google Scholar

SGAE (2000) Hábitos de consumo cultural (Madrid: SGAE). Hábitos de consumo cultural Google Scholar

Shackleton, Liz, Melanie Rodier and Ab Zagt (2003) ‘All change again’, Screen International (6 June), 11. All change again Screen International 11 Google Scholar

Smith, Paul Julian (2000) The Moderns: Time, Space, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Spanish Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press). The Moderns: Time, Space, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Spanish Culture Google Scholar

Smith, Paul Julian (2003) Contemporary Spanish Culture: TV, Fashion, Art, and Film (Cambridge: Polity). Contemporary Spanish Culture: TV, Fashion, Art, and Film Google Scholar

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Author details

Smith, Paul Julian