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It’s The Perfect Time to Start “Sweding” Films Again

2008’s ‘Be Kind Rewind’ kicked off a trend of hilariously homemade no-budget remakes of cinema classics. Now that we’re all trapped inside, what better time to revitalize the ‘sweded film’?
Sweded Film
By  · Published on April 8th, 2020

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The year is 2008. Obama has won the presidency. The stock market is crashing. And dozens (dozens!) of movie lovers are making DIY YouTube tributes of their favorite films. These are “swedes”: zero-budget, 5~ minute films brought to life with household items and a hell of a lot of cardboard. The term “sweding” originates from Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind. In the film, two video store owners (played by Jack Black and Mos Def) accidentally erase all their VHS stock and must recreate iconic films themselves with no budget, no edits, and single takes. To justify the longer wait times and higher rental costs, Black’s character explains to his customers that the movies are special Swedish imports: sweded films, if you will.

According to the (now defunct) Be Kind Rewind website, Sweding is the art of “re-making something from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on.” If you search “sweded” in YouTube you’ll be greeted with lovingly stitched together (well…duct-taped together) remakes of Hollywood classics. While they’re formally defined by their production constraints, the thing that keeps me coming back to sweded films, after all these years, is their knowingly naive charm; the bespoke, irreplicable hilarity of being truly, honestly homespun. Sweded films are some of the purest content on the internet. And while we still see the odd modern swede, “sweding” films is definitely no longer the trend it was back in 2008.

That needs to change. We’re all living in isolation right now, bored out of gourds in our own homes. What better way to pass the time than marshaling bed sheets, delivery boxes, and all the household odds and ends that time forgot to make art and bring much-needed joy to the internet? Think of all the modern classics that missed out on the original sweding trend. Anihilation sweded? Yes, please. A swede of Mission: Impossible – Fallout? You’d love to see it! To inspire you here is the all time-greatest swede (I think about John Hammond’s toilet paper beard at least once a week).

Watch a sweded pass at “Jurassic Park” here:

Who made this?

The masterpiece “Jurassic Park SWEDED (for bekindrewind)” was created by Steven Seller and uploaded to YouTube a lifetime ago on February 21st, 2008. The film stars Seller, Nicholas Biggs, Sebastian Cowan, and Laura Louise Hodgson. It was originally submitted to a “sweded” competition. After Be Kind Rewind‘s release, a smattering of such competitions cropped up across the globe (no really). Sellar’s YouTube page describes him as an award-winning creative based in London.

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Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.