Friday, April 19, 2013

People keep saying to me: I want to WATCH a movie, not READ one.

At the library, we have DVDs that may be checked out. A percentage of these DVDs are foreign films.

Just about daily, there are patrons who will watch literally anything that comes down the pike, but if it's foreign, they put it back with looks of disgust.

These are people of varying education levels; some, I'm not sure they can read or read very well, so that's fine. I'm not judging them. I'm judging the other ones. They know who they are.

Now, I'm not one of those people who feels a moral obligation to watch a certain sort of movie. You know the movies. The white guilt movies, the "Triumphs over X" movies, the social responsibility movies. Movies are entertainment, that's a fact. I do like movies where things blow up, where there is action. I also like musicals. I like plain ol' dramas. I'm a sucker for all those football movies they made, where the team pulls together and does whatever at the end.

So, even acknowledging that movies can basely be entertainment, what's my problem?

Well. I don't think that reading and watching are mutually exclusive, clearly. I read many many books a year, for entertainment purposes. So when a movie is subtitled, it isn't a personal insult, or a challenge to my psyche, or any of those things. It's just...a subtitled movie.

Now here is where anime is a great example to use. There are many people who will debate vigorously on the merits of subbed versus dubbed, and never waver on that fact. There are some anime I've only ever watched dubbed, and now just can't stand the subtitled voices (Cowboy Bebop especially). There are some I've never watched dubbed, and don't know how I'd feel about it (Naruto, though I haven't watched all of Naruto). There are some I just don't know. I've never watched subtitled Princess Mononoke. Thoughts?

There are non-animated foreign films that I've watched and loved as well. I don't think watching it in English was an option; I'm not sure I even looked. Intacto is one. The Lives of Others is another. If you haven't seen either of those, you should. Intacto is about a game in which luck can be given, taken, and gambled. The Lives of Others is a movie about artist types (writers, if memory serves) in East Berlin, and a KGB (or was it FSB?) agent who's assigned to listen in on them. Oh yeah, and Pan's Labyrinth, which is probably a little less obscure, considering Guillermo del Toro's popularity.

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