Thursday, August 7, 2008

To Read, Or Not to Read?

So I love movies, a lot of people say that. I am open to almost any kind of film, but I mainly concern myself with watching so called "foreign" or "arthouse" movies. I have (what I feel) is quite an extensive range of aim was to get a collection that the average person would look at and maybe recognize only a handful of titles. This appears to have worked. What I suddenly became aware of though, was a complete disinterest from people who do not like to read subtitles. Trying to introduce friends to movies that are completely original and (in my opinion) compulsory viewing for so called "movie-buffs" only to be met with "If I wanted to read I would read a book" as an opposition to watching a subtitled film. Or, worse yet, they inquire about an English dub. I am not sure where this negativity comes from. Some of the best cinema ever laid on celluloid comes from countries for whom English is not a compulsory language. This is evident by the current trend in Hollywood to remake such films. Interestingly few of these remakes do justice to their original source and those that do gain acclaim (such as The Departed, originally Infernal Affairs) only help to emphasize how good the original is, but that is another post.... Dubbing of movies has occurred for years, the advent of DVD into the home has allowed for multiple tracks of audio goodness for many a viewer. I don't understand dubbing! The performance of a voice artist laid over that of the original actors very rarely maintains the original inflection or intent. I was unfortunate enough to see the dubbed version of House of Flying Daggers, when watching the subtitles over the dub...whole sentences of dialog get tossed aside because they don't fit the lip sync and this is aside from the fact that correct formation of sentences is thrown to the side simply to maintain this lip syncing. In short, it is not the same film. If you have watched a dubbed movie, you have not seen (or rather heard) the original artists intent. In some cases you may not even be getting the whole story! I feel it is such a shame to see so many great films go unrecognized by mainstream cinema goers, and then to have a remake of such films get critical acclaim for originality only makes me feel more depressed. I liked The Departed, it was a brilliantly crafted film, but it was not original. Sure it wasn't a shot for shot remake, but Infernal Affairs was a masterpiece by comparison and yet for the most part I would wager most cinema audiences would never have heard of it....let alone taken the time to read it.

Well I have quite a number of pet peeves regarding motion pictures and the way they are perceived or viewed. I will be sharing some of these thoughts as they come about.

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