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March 1995, Week 3


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David Smith <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 16 Mar 1995 15:37:27 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Blaine Allan wrote:
>Seems to me that here in Canada -- which, last I heard,
>was still part of North America -- most of what we see on our
>movie screens are foreign films.
That's true. The subject I have introduced is foreign*language*
films, commonly referred-to as 'foreign films'. Having lived
in Canada for the past ten years, may I say that politically and
socially the differences between (Anglophone) Canada and America
aren't all that striking, and becoming less so with the passage of
time. (This is not a good thing).
The issue of *language* in film, and everything else, has a
heightened prominence in Canada, as you well know. For my
money, the best Canadian films are produced in Quebec, while
Anglophone filmmakers of talent are inevitably absorbed
by Hollywood (where they can make a living and get to make
projects). Almost all the films screened at local cineplexes
in Halifax are English-language. The vast, vast majority are
standard Hollywood 'blockbusters'. I do not consider them
foreign in any way shape or form to (Anglo) Canadian culture.
Ulf Dalquist wrote:
>Look, I really don't want to get into PC hair-splitting when it comes to what
>words you can use, but I oppose the term 'foreign' film.If  even CNN has
>rejected the use of 'foreign' news for 'international' ditto, I think the
>on SCREEN-L could do likewise.  Declaring everything not american
>'foreign' IS a
>bit chauvinistic,or at least it sounds that way.
Well, you may not be hair-splitting, but you missed my point. The
term 'foreign film' is only contextual. In a given nation, all films
that were produced outside its borders are technically, 'foreign'
films. Agreed ? I am inquiring about foreign-language films sub-
titled for the North American market specifically.
Shawn wrote:
>the actors in her country work hard and are serious and profressional
>about their job of translating a Hollywood film into the German language.
>the actors that are the voices of one big-name actor are that actor's
>voice in other films as well.  getting of the occasional discontinuity
>between lip movement and words spoken is much simpler a task than
>trying to take in mise-en-scene, action, inflection,
>etc while reading small yellow or white print on the bottom of a screen.
>[...] i find it difficult to believe that sub-titling could ever hold the
>of dubbing. [...] if foreign films are to seek a truly wider audience,
>they should
>not be sold, as has been contended in this thread, on their novelty as foreign
>creations but on their internal appeal as entertaining and interesting
>films.  for this to work, they must also be as fully accessible to the
>audience as they are in any other country. [...] i don't mean to cover old
>but i was concerned by the suggestion that some type of consensus favoring
>sub-titling had been reached.
I'm in favor of diversity rather than international homogeneity. That is
why I like to watch foreign films. I fear and loathe Hollywood's
domination, because it spreads destructive values and sharply restricts
the range of ideas that people are exposed to. I enjoy hearing people speak
with their own voices.
Most of the respondents to my original post about sub-titling/dubbing
indicated they prefer sub-titles. I do not find reading them an onerous chore,
and for the most part find the process a subconscious one unless they are
especially illegible or obtrusive.
David Smith
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