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Stephen King’s Shawshank Redemption Goes To China

publicerad 18 februari 2024
- Kristoffer Hell
Shawshank Redemption in China
Shawshank Redemption in China.

While the West’s self-proclaimed elites bank on globalisation, the political monocultural McDonaldfication of the entire planet, where the Western model is the only one that is tolerated, China invests in cosmopolitanism: the recognition and appreciation of foreign cultures whilst keeping and nurturing its own.

For reasons eluding this writer, American horror writer Stephen King’s prison drama about the wrongly convicted banker Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption, is immensely popular in China – especially the Hollywood 1994 Big Screen adaption, based on King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.

On 12 January 2024, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Hollywood classic, Chinese actor and director Zhang Guoli’s take on the story premiered in Shenzhen.

The unique aspect of the Chinese version is that all the actors are from the West but fluent in Chinese (Mandarin).

There it is: a bona fide American prison drama set in the 1950s where all the actors are Western, but deliver their lines in Mandarin, occasionally rewritten to cater for local idiosyncrasies.

The play is currently touring China, where it is reported to play to full houses.



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