At the Movies in Italy

In my last post I wrote that I don’t like dubbed films because I can’t commit to movie characters who have been stripped of their real voices.

But I’m not sure that commitment is really the issue.

At the weekend I went to see another film (2 films in the space of a week!!) at another outdoor cinema in Mantova. (Mantova is full of outdoor cinemas in summer.)

The film in question was called Quasi Amici (TRANSLATION: Almost Friends) and it was French. It happened to be Bastille Day, too. The original title of the film is Intouchables.

I don’t know why the Italian cinema regulators saw fit to:

(a) translate the title (I’m quite sure Italian audiences would have been able to cope with Intouchables); and

(b) change the title completely – but they often do this.

The outdoor cinema was in a huge open space behind an old cinema – the type that shows art-house films (i.e. films that do not feature superheroes or have multiple sequels). Unfortunately we arrived a bit late, when it was practically dark, and so I missed the opportunity to take some photos of what was a very picturesque setting, with the odd bat swooping overhead.

The film itself was a sweet, feel-good number with a happy ending.  We enjoyed it.

However, as always, I took exception to the dubbing. Not because it was bad – on the contrary, it was flawless. And not because I couldn’t commit to the characters – I didn’t cry on their behalf, but I was sympathetic to them. I took exception to the dubbing because I felt I was missing out. My French may be limited to bonjour and oui, oui madame, but if I go to see a French film, I want to hear some of the French language.

Italians seem to be completely unperturbed by the dubbing of foreign films – they grow up with it and are used to it. But to me this is strange because the type of Italians who go to see arty films are literate, educated, well-travelled and have some knowledge of foreign languages. Why then are they not bothered that they are denied cinematic exposure to other tongues?

Honestly, there is more multilingualism in the world of soccer. I know this because Signor Lu is always checking the soccer channels.

I have another gripe, too, about going to the cinema here. I’m one of those people who likes to read all of the credits at the end of a movie. Not so the vast majority of Italian film audiences (and probably most other film audiences too). They hustle you out of your seat and start talking really loudly as soon as the credits begin to roll. I therefore feel obliged to get up (not that I can see or hear anymore, anyway) and thus I’m sure I miss out on some fascinating pieces of information about the film I’ve just watched.

But I do like going to open air cinemas and I’m sure I will catch another expertly dubbed film, the credits of which I will be denied the pleasure of reading, before the summer is through.


About cityoflu

Secret Agent Lu likes travelling, reading, neuroses (all kinds), the Orient, cities, feet and science.
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