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December 1996, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
David Desser <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 11 Dec 1996 11:08:16 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (34 lines)
In fact, I am in favor of neither subtitling nor dubbing non-English
language films.  If you can't learn as many languages as films are made in,
watch them anyway!
As many have observed already, especially Evan Cameron so cogently,
subtitling deforms the visual image as badly as dubbing deforms our aural
"picture."  I would point out, too, that "dubbing" is common in many, many
cinemas where it is routine to use other voices for on-screen actors.  How
many Americans realize that the adult star of _Cinema Paradiso_ is French
and is thus not speaking the Italian dialogue?  Italian popular films were
ALL post-dubbed and it was common to use a different voice for an on-screen
actor.  Do you think by the way, in the ITALIAN versions of the Leone
masterpieces that Clint speaks Italian?  And those wonderful, wonderful
Hong Kong films of the 70s that found their way into the US in horrendously
dubbed versions were shown overseas to Chinese audience ALREADY dubbed from
the Cantonese-speaking actors into Mandarin.
Subtitling of English-language films in other nations is also often
hopeless.  How do you think, say, _M*A*S*H_, with all its overlapping
dialogue, intrusive sounds, etc., works in subtitles?  And when I saw
Godard's _Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle_ in Paris without
subtitles (of course) I realized again, but very profoundly, how very often
Godard uses offscreen sounds, shifts the volume on dialogue, etc., so that
maybe you're not supposed to hear what the subtitles assume for you is
Just some thoughts.
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