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Suspect Narratives: Adaptation and Inter-Asian Remakes

Headshot of Krista Van Fleit; descriptive text (event date, time, location); background image of a television, cassette player, tapes, DVDs
Friday, October 20, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Krista Van Fleit (University of South Carolina)
APSI Speaker Series

In 2013, the Malayalam film "Drishyam," a suspenseful story of the cover up of an accidental murder, became a huge hit that inspired remakes in many regional Indian languages before it traveled to China to become the first Chinese language adaptation of an Indian film, titled "Sheep Without A Shepherd" 《误杀》.

The original film has been accused of lifting its story from a popular Japanese detective novel, "The Devotion of Suspect X," which was also made into films in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. This presentation traces the many versions of the narrative to explore how comparing the Indian and Chinese films can recenter our understanding of global cinema and film circulation.

When considering the many versions of Drishyam, instead of focusing on tensions between center and periphery, we can see both the anxieties and the creative power of cultural borrowing and the retelling of narratives in an increasingly inter-connected Asian film market.

About the speaker: Krista Van Fleit is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of South Carolina. Her first book, Literature the People Love: Reading Chinese Texts from the Early Maoist period (1949-1966), examines cultural production in China's Maoist period.

She is currently researching film connections between China and India for a book project titled Bollywood to Beijing: Film Exchange and Cultural Production in Asia. She has recently published articles on the theme of corruption in Asian cinema, the circulation of Indian films in Maoist China, and the popularity of Bollywood film star Aamir Khan in 21st century China.

Event is co-sponsored by the Critical Asian Humanities program (AMES) and the Duke India Initiative.