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.

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Comments on “Sweded Movies: The Fans Talk Back”

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It doesn’t matter how much the shills and imaginary property trolls scream, whine, and buy new laws. We the people, and the the world which we inhabit, is not going back to the the past. Call it what you want, the internet, the genie, Pandora’s box, whatever! We are not de-evolving and un-developing the technology or our culture to suite their twisted, demented, authoritarian, Orwellian, need for control over everyone. Government enforced exclusive monopoly, over our real property is over. The time of your evil empire is over. May it never reign again.

Mr Big Contentsays:

Pirate Movies: The Pirates Talk Back


One of the defining characteristics of the pirate world — and one of the problems for copyright law, which was conceived in a pirate-free age — is the importance of being able to pirate on the piracy of other pirates not just indirectly, but directly, through pirating or the piracy of existing pirated material. Stig Rudeholm points us to a fascinating feature in the Guardian about “pirate movies”: home-made piratings of Hollywood titles that adopt precisely this approach of creative re-piratation. The name apparently comes from the film “Be Kind Rewind”, where DIY piratings of studio favorites are passed off as pirated editions.



Sigourney Weaver

If I remember the movie correctly – didn’t a representative of the MAFIAA in the form of Sigourney Weaver turn up near the end of Be Kind Rewind and expressly tell them that they couldn’t do that to the movies and shut down the video shop?

Life imitates art imitates life…

Going by Jack Blacks previous stances on it, the moral of the story was to show that you shouldn’t copy others (even in parody) but you should create your own stuff… I don’t quite think that carried over, but what did carry over was that the MAFIAA are bunch of imperialist asshats.


Re: Sigourney Weaver

So Hollywood broke its own rules with the Not Another ______ Movie series. And every sequel made by someone other than the original creators and actors. And every reboot and prequel. And every movie made from a pre-existing story like mythology, fairy tales, books, video games, and even board games.


This is not new. Vidding culture has been going on for decades in many different media sources. Fake trailers, re-envisioning tv and film and even ads, re-filming movies a la Nollywood, lego time-stop versions of famous scenes etc. are all old forms of talkback that are only receiving more attention now because they are easier to distribute and because they often require the use of ripping tools to provide source audio or video, making them cases for DMCA exemption and the protection of such tools. In a recent case in the US, several internet rights groups submitted amicus briefs supporting these tools based on their use in such forms of creative response. It remains to be seen whether corporate cash will outweigh logic and culture here, but I’m still holding onto hope.

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