Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.
Be Kind Rewind (2008) was written and directed by French filmmaker Michel Gondry. It’s a movie about the dawn of the DVD and a VHS video rental employee’s attempt to thwart off the digital competition by creating his own versions of popular movies. This practice is known as “Sweding.”
It was panned by critics.
“It’s the kind of amusing film you can wait to see on DVD,” said Roger Ebert in a 2008 review.
Be Kind Rewind currently sports a 65% fresh rating on rotten tomatoes and 6.4 on IMDB.
A colossal box office flop. The film only reeled in four million opening weekend.
Dave Chappelle was supposed to play the main character, who is instead played by Mos Def.
Chappelle’s Block Party documentary in 2005, apparently inspired the film’s urban setting, though the idea was one Gondry had envisioned for years prior.
In an interview with avclub.com in 2008, Gondry said: “Chappelle was intrigued, interested in this project for a while, and he mentioned a couple of films that we did remake: Driving Miss Daisy, Rush Hour 2, that was his idea… Boyz N The Hood as well.”
Enlisting Dave Chappelle would have made a difference at the box office. Nevertheless, the legacy of Sweding has lived on.
Four years after the film was released, people are still cranking out Sweded films. Including this Casino Royale Gem.
The art of Sweding itself has evolved over these past four years. This classic Jurassic Park Sweded (2008) used no editing effects (sound effects, explosions, etc.).
Whereas the more modern Avengers Sweded (2012) is effective in fusing increased editing capabilities with old-timey cardboard technology.
Michel Gondry wrote a book about his vision to put the cameras in the hands of the people called “You’ll Like This film Because You’re In It.”
Sweded film festivals such as Swedefest (Swedish people might get confused) have become popular.
In commemoration of Be Kind Rewind‘s three-year anniversary, or simply because he was bored, in December of 2011, Gondry himself, released a Sweded version of Taxi Driver.
Naturally, it starred himself.
Alex Corey is a writer studying journalism at California State University-Northridge and a staff reporter for the bilingual El Nuevo Sol. He can be reached on Twitter @ptyjournalist and on the Series of Tubes at ptyjournalist.wordpress.com