In recent months there has been a lot of discussion about Harvey Weinstein and his notorious reputation as “Harvey Scissorhands.” He is known for his magical ability to win Oscars, often by picking out diamonds in the rough but also by reshaping those films according to his own whims. This is especially true of foreign films such as Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster and Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer, both of which have reportedly been severely shortened for U.S. audiences. Harvey Weinstein helps bring films like this exposure and even Academy Award potential, but at what cost?
People often cry foul when they hear that a producer has imposed drastic cuts on a director, but the truth is that sometimes the changes are an improvement. In an article over at Grantland, Karina Longworth points out that Martin Scorsese credits Weinstein with saving Gangs of New York and he also helped Billy Bob Thornton win an Oscar for Sling Blade as well. When it comes to foreign films, however, the belief seems to be that Weinstein is just “dumbing down” these movies for American viewers. What do you think? Is Harvey Weinstein overstepping his boundaries or is he actually helping these films? Do you care if the North American version of a foreign film has been cut? Is it ever acceptable to make changes to a film for a different market? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.