Category: Film Page 95 of 101

Subtitle Fun!

There are so many times I wish I understand all other languages just so I could laugh at subtitle translations. Even my teeny bit of French sometimes is enough to know when they’ve missed the meaning (or skipped entire lines). However, with Bollywood film? Sometimes you don’t even need to know Hindi to laugh at the subtitles. There were many grammatical issues with the subtitles to the film Taal (which was otherwise pretty good, if over-melodramatic, and had some of the best Indian music I’ve ever heard), but these two were on a whole different level.

Um…”cent” does mean “one hundred,” which is what he said. In fact, he said “one hundred percent” in English (as Indians often do, mixing English with Hindi often within the same sentence). Yet they translated the “one hundred” into French for the English subtitles. Very multi-lingual of them. (BTW, this never happens elsewhere…they usually do subtitle the English, because the speakers switch back and forth too quickly for it to register sometimes, but IN ENGLISH. Not French. They’re not doing some fancy trick to show you how they’ve suddenly switched to a different language, as they did in l’auberge espagnole to indicate the English-speaker’s broken French.)

And my favorite:
Dude. “Mumbai” means “Mumbai.” Who knew? The best part is that the actual-within-the-movie “Mumbai” showed up first, then the subtitle followed a moment after, like a live subtitler was doing it and realized that we might not know what “Mumbai” meant and he’d better throw up a “Mumbai” just to make sure. Throughout the rest of the film, they subtitled “Mumbai” as “Bombay,” so I could see if they had indicated that Mumbai was Bombay, but no. Mumbai is Mumbai.

I think that takes the cake for the most pointless subtitle ever.

edit: in the funny subtitle vein, check out the English subtitles to a Chinese pirated Revenge of the Sith: The Backstroke of the West. (Thanks glow_boy over on Livejournal for that link!) Thirty-two down, note that the Jedi Council continues in…The Presbyterian Church! That’s right, folks. There is an explanation for that particular translation down in the comments which makes sense, but still. My Indian-film subtitles can’t hold a candle to Engrish.

December Reading/Watching Recap

You know, having neither school nor work does wonders for media consumption, as does access to St. Louis libraries. Nineteen movies and six books, including Stranger Than Fiction, Before Sunrise, The Queen, The Wrong Man, Volver, V for Vendetta, We are Marshall, The English Patient, Eragon (book), and Ficciones after the jump.

Best of 2006

I’m not quite finished with the December reading/watching recap, but since publishing “best of” lists is the thing to do at the end of the year, I figured I could go ahead and do that. And by “best of 2006” I mean “best that I saw or read in 2006,” because, as usual, I was not proactive enough at theatres and new release bookshelves to give any sort of a best movies or books released in 2006 list.

Top Ten Films I Watched in 2006 (none of the lists are in any particular order…most are chronological of when I saw them, because that’s the order of the records I started from)

Honorable Mentions

Ten Films You Probably Haven’t Seen But Ought To

Some Films I Really Had Gotten to St. Louis Before I Had to Go Back to Waco:

Top Ten Books I Read This Year

Top Five TV Shows (network only; I can’t keep track of cable)

Top Five Guilty Pleasure TV Shows (by this I mean either that they aren’t really GOOD, but I like them, or merely that I enjoy them, but not in a substantial, fannish way)

On the subject of TV shows, 24 will probably be joining the first set of TV shows this spring, and American Idol will certainly be joining the “guilty pleasure” set in LIKE TWO WEEKS! Just so you know, this blog will likely be taken over by American Idol fever after the premiere on January 16th.

November recap

Two…count ’em, TWO…movies this month. How freakin’ pathetic is that? And one of them was because I was writing about it for class. Oh well, there are twelve books. That’s right. More than I’ve ever read in a month before, ever. Well, yes, all of them were for school. Or work. A lot of them are plays that I read into a CD burner so that the stage design professor I work for in the theatre department could listen to them later.

Good Thoughts on Film Watching…

A couple of weeks ago, Andy Horbal ran a Film Criticism blog-a-thon, basically encouraging other film bloggers to post their thoughts on film criticism and then posting all the links in his blog. I haven’t had time to read all the posts yet, but this one caught my eye. These are Matt Riviera’s Thoughts on Watching and Appreciation Film.

1. Every film is a masterpiece.

I try to give the filmmaker the benefit of the doubt until the end credits roll, or at least as long as his or her film can withstand it. If I assume the film is a masterpiece, then I am forced to find out why as I’m watching it, meaning I can’t be complacent or dismissive. If it’s not clever, then I’m not getting the reference. If it’s not funny, then I’m not getting the joke. If it’s not thought-provoking, then I’m not getting the point. Etc, etc.

If I assume the film is a masterpiece and my first impressions while watching it is that it isn’t, then that’s the impetus I need to think harder about what I’m watching, to work harder at identifying and understanding the filmmaker’s intentions and methods.

Of course some films are duds, and sometimes you might even know they’re duds from the first minutes. But there’s something fascinating about pretending you’re wrong and the filmmaker is a genius, about the process of questioning all preconceived notions of what makes a good film and why. I may not change my mind about the film, but I perhaps won’t feel like I’ve wasted two hours of my life watching it.

I like this. It’s sort of the opposite of my usual “go in with low expectations so I’ll be pleasantly surprised” stance, but it’s also a good way to think about film or books, or anything, especially the part about working harder to see what we might be missing. It’s so easy to be negative on purpose–it’s more fun in a perverse way to tear down than to praise, it’s satisfying to nitpick, and we have a tendency to think a negative review is more “honest.” I consciously try to avoid this (which isn’t difficult, because I really do enjoy the vast amount of films I watch, even if I end up deciding they aren’t very good), but it is fun to denigrate and mock, I have to admit.

I often have two critical appreciations of every film co-existing in my mind, a cold critical judgement which is what’s left when I’ve removed my emotional self from the equation, and a fuller, more holistic appraisal which takes into account what I’ve brought to the viewing experience.

This is true, as well. “I liked it” does not necessarily mean “it was good”–critical judgment does not always coincide with emotional response. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the two. Sometimes I don’t think they need to be completely separated…there are so many film critics out there now that perhaps we can afford to be more subjective. In the aggregate, a more objective view appears.

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