In a key scene in Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World,” the Director – manager of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre (for humans) -- is revealed, before a roomful of people, to be the father of the story’s hero, John the Savage. The word alone is enough to reduce the crowd of people to tears:
“’Father’ was not so much obscene as … merely gross, a scatological rather than a pornographic impropriety; the comically smutty word relieved what had become a quite intolerable tension. Laughter broke out, enormous, almost hysterical, peal after peal, as though it would never stop…”
Clearly, the folk behind the Quebecois comedy “Starbuck” are hoping for a similar reaction when their film opens here Friday. It’s hero –ne’er-do-well Montreal meat delivery man David Wozniak (Patrick Huard) -- learns to his dismay that the 648 sperm bank donations he made in the ‘80s – at $35 a shall we say pop -- have matured into 533 adults. A number of his progeny, 142 to be exact, want to meet him, are challenging the confidentiality laws that have kept David anonymous all the intervening years, and he’s also, incidentally, $80,000 in debt to gangsters. Oh yes, and his unhappy girlfriend Valerie (Julie LeBreton) is pregnant. Make that 534.
- Michael Haneke remade “Funny Games” (1997) as “Funny Games” (2007)
- Robert Rodriguez remade “El Mariachi” (1992) into the semi-sequel “Desperado” (1995)
- Takashi Shimizu remade “Ju-On” (2002) as “The Grudge” (2004)
- Francis Veber remade “Les Fugitives” (1986) as “Three Fugitives” (1989)
- George Sluizer remade “Spoorloos” (1988) as “The Vanishing” (1993)
- Ole Bornedal remade “Nattevagten” (1994) as “Nightwatch” (1997)
- Hideo Nakata remade “Ringu 2” (1999) as “The Ring Two” (2005)
Speaking of remakes, it’s worth noting that the story behind the 2011 Canadian “Starbuck”– one story, at any rate – was the basis for the 2010 American documentary, “Donor Unknown.” It told of world-class spermanator Jeffrey Harrison, who is tracked down years later by a number of his donor kids, who have all had ideas of who and what their father was, and get a slightly rude awakening. It’s no comedy. But then again, Harrison didn’t father 533 children. Make that 534.