Disposable Films from Around the World

The 2012 Disposable Film Festival, a wonderfully "lo-fi" yet decidedly global short film event, took place recently at San Francisco's gorgeous Castro Theatre. The requirements for consideration are that your film be shot on "anything you might have on you" (according to the submission guidelines), and have a runtime of under ten minutes, Our intrepid in-house cinephile, Stephanie Engelsen, reports on the best of the shortest from around the world.

On His Day Off, Ferris Bueller Sings in Chinese

During the Super Bowl, people talk nearly as much about the three million dollar 30-second ads than they do about the actual football game itself. That's why Honda is pre-promoting and creating buzz for its new ad that will air during Super Bowl Sunday this February 5th. And the buzz now is all about the return of a slightly grey Ferris Bueller, the main character from the 1986 hit movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". Yep, Matthew Broderick returns as Ferris, a bon vivant with the utmost confidence, even when singing in Chinese. We ask: why sing in Chinese and not the original German from the movie, and was it dubbed?

Frankly, my dear, eso no me importa: The Art of Subtitle Translation

September 29, 2011 by Alyssa Paris
Category: Multimedia, Culture

movie subtitle translationWhat’s the secret behind a film that’s able to make viewers laugh, cry, screech or sit in quiet reflection at the very same moment in theaters across the globe, irrespective of language and culture?

Besides blood, sweat and tears, the quick answer is: talented translators (and voice talents). Movie translators truly do make or break a film.

Opera and Translation

February 1, 2011 by Ben Howdeshell
Category: Culture

Opera wouldn’t be quite the art form that it is without the words highlighting the story behind the music. This, however, poses its own challenge to understanding an opera for modern, global audiences, as the poetry of the libretto might be missed unless you happen to speak the language fluently.

sydney opera house

As Anthony Tommasini points out in The New York Times article that inspired this humble blog post, providing a translation that is not only accurate to the source but also fits the musical line is a challenge for translators. However, with credit again to another of Mr. Tommasini’s articles, there are strong artistic opinions on the merits and benefits of opera in translation, and when done, linguistic fidelity often cedes to linguistic creativity. When it’s well done, you get a wonderful marriage of emotion and meaning that blends in well with the music. When not, well, it can sometimes feel like reading badly translated subtitles.

Le Best of French Cinema

August 13, 2010 by Stephanie Engelsen
Category: Culture

french cinemaIt’s summertime. That means happy-go-lucky, action-packed, bigger-than-life Hollywood films. If you’re looking for something different and a way to practice another language (or get good at reading subtitles), regardez (watch) these films in French, among my favorites of le cinéma français.  They take you away from the special effects and saccharine happy endings that riddle summer blockbusters, and invite some depth and beauty into the summer.

"Le grand bleu" (The Big Blue) 1988
You’ll never stare out into the ocean again and not think of this film. Two boyhood friends compete with one another for the world free-diving championship. Stars Jean Reno, Jean-Marc Barr and Rosanna Arquette and directed by Luc Besson (also know for "La femme Nikita", another great French film). An extremely poignant, often funny and unforgettable film, despite the dated 80s synthesizer music.

"Le goût des autres" (The Taste of Others) 2000
Directed by Agnès Jaoui, this movie creeps up on you. Wham, at the end you’re floored by its subtlety and truthfulness. An unappealing man falls for his charming, popular female opposite, yet the tables imperceptivity turn by the film's end. A movie about human nature and the whims of attraction.

Thanks, Google: Our Favorite Foreign TV Shows, Brought Closer

June 9, 2010 by Acclaro
Category: Technology, Culture

TV remote controlMany expatriates and repatriated Americans find themselves watching their favorite TV show on their computer screen or phone simply because the show isn’t broadcast in the States. Do you love the wildly popular “East Enders” from the UK, “Slovakia’s Next Top Supermodel”, or Hong Kong’s “Super Trio Game Master”? More than likely you can’t watch them on your TV screen and have to resort to the shows’ website or YouTube videos.

Enter GoogleTV, which allows you to watch web content on your TV. While this may not seem revolutionary — going from your laptop or phone screen to your TV screen — just think about how the world just opened up to you on a big screen, from your couch. At a click of the remote, you can delve into the popular culture of nearly any country on the planet. (See demo.)

Want to brush up on a language and can’t afford language classes or a plane ticket? Sit on the couch and watch and listen to some programs in that language. Want to learn how to play cricket, yet live 100 miles from the closest cricket club (not to mention that you don’t readily have access to a crispy clean, all-white cricket uniform)? Turn on the TV and learn how to play from the best in the world.

A New Wave in Subtitles

May 26, 2010 by Stephanie Engelsen
Category: "Spot" on Language, Culture

jean luc godardThe legendarily obtuse Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) French director, Jean-Luc Godard, premiered his new and perhaps, last movie at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17. Entitled "Film Socialism", it has created quite a whirlpool of chatter due to its densely packed themes, images, and a multilingual cast whose lines are subtitled into "Navajo English."

First, a little background on Godard and the French cinema culture. In France, le cinema is considered a high art form and is discussed with the same fervor as philosophy, politics and the French language. In Paris, there are over 100 movie theaters, ranging from the 10-screen mega multiplex playing the latest Hollywood blockbusters to the 25-seat sous-sol (basement) art houses playing foreign, classic and truly independent movies that would never see the light of the screen in the States.

In one day of cine-trolling within one single Parisian arrondissement, you could see, for example, a film from Mali by a first-time director, a $300 million Hollywood thriller, a classic Italian spaghetti western, a French comedy, and a collection of animated short films from Japan.

Jersey Shore to Cross the Atlantic - and Beyond

Starting this week, MTV will start showing its hit television show "Jersey Shore" in 30 different countries, hoping that the "narrative" will prove to be "universally appealing," reports Brian Stelter in The New York Times.jersey shore buenos aires ad

If the ads are any indication, foreign markets may at least have some piqued interest. As Adrien Chen observes on Defamer.com's Australian site:

On the poster I see a muscle man who is tan. In our culture, muscles are good – we either want to have them or want to be with someone who does. The man is adorned with flashy jewellery: Perhaps he is wealthy. I enjoy watching wealthy, fit people people flaunt their wealth. The man looks like he is aggressive. He looks both threatening and appealing. Are his hand signs American for “welcome?” or “I will fight you?” I will watch this show.

Would you? As Chen puts it, "As a foreigner, I am fascinated by America." And if MTV is pushing "Jersey Shore" as a prime example of American culture, of course it will attract the interest of foreign viewers.

Disney Localizes Film in South Indian Dialect

March 11, 2010 by Acclaro
Category: Multimedia

roadside  romeoThe Walt Disney Company is filming a new adventure movie for Indian audiences in the southern dialect of Telugu. The Hollywood entertainment giant will also create a dubbed version in Tamil, another southern dialect, to further broaden its localization efforts, reports the Associated Press.

In 2008, in partnership with Yash Raj Films, Disney released a Hindi animated feature called "Roadside Romeo," which was a huge success. The film used the voices of national Bollywood stars to increase its appeal to local audiences.

The storylines of the films are also adapted to local tastes: simple stories, mixed with singing, dancing, humor, and the "in your face" emotion typical of Bollywood productions, noted Forbes at the time of production.

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Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


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