Saturday, July 5, 2008

And Now, a Movie of Subtitled Fun...

Some moviegoers will balk at the idea of watching “foreign films” because they don't like reading through subtitles. However, not all the films shot in the language that you understand are good; there are many creatively made, wonderfully shot films that are subtitled, raw with their native languages. There is music in language, and you know this as a writer; dub voices over, and you lose a lot of the original beauty of a film.

If you love “foreign films,” then you are in luck; and if you avoid them, then it's time to overcome your fear. Your job is to review a film with subtitles. This is going to be a challenge: you will have to pay attention to how well a movie is shot, how well it is acted, and how great the technicals are, ALL while you read the subtitles and get the story.

The objective of this exercise is to widen your appreciation for film, above and beyond those that fall into your comfort zone. This can allow you to soak in different cultures, to appreciate other languages, and to broaden your cultural horizons. It may sound vague, but with more and more exposure to foreign films, you may find yourself becoming more and more open to other cultures, other worldviews, and other minds. You might find yourself wanting to travel to other countries – and you may find yourself becoming a better writer, too.

There is one more objective to this exercise: you are about to embark on a multitasking quest. You need to scrutinize many aspects of a film while reading the dialogue. Can you do it?

So go ahead: rent the first “foreign film” that you find and start writing your review. It may be easier to do this at home, since you can pause the film to read subtitles. You can even watch the film over without the subtitles so that you can appreciate the technical aspects of it better.

My recommendations: Life is Beautiful (Italy), Cinema Paradiso (Italy), City of God (Brazil), Talk to Her (Spain), Dreams (Japan), Solomon and Gaenor (Wales), Slumdog Millionaire (India), and Mongol (China). Please don't get mad at me for these choices; they're the first that came to mind, and I know that there are thousands of other films out there that are far better.

Good luck, happy watching, and happy reviewing!

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