Thursday, September 12, 2013

Just what is ACTUALLY wrong with films with subtitles

The subject line of this blog was a question asked to me by an actress friend of mine namely Rebecca Callard. I say friend simply because it sounds better than ‘I’m a fan of hers’ In truth I’ve been an admirer of her work for 20 years, seen her in plays on four occasions in that time. I have a web page on her for which she gives me the odd bit of information for and we exchange the odd tweet from time to time. We exchanged tweets a few months back after a friend of hers said that she didn’t want to see a film as it had subtitles (i.e. foreign language film with English subtitles). Rebecca couldn’t believe this as she was missing out on seeing a highly regarded film.

Her taste in films was the subject of some gently mickey taking on twitter by a dear friend of Rebecca’s of late and I (a little bit rudely I must admit) joined in with comments on films with subtitles, with reference to the earlier conversation. Rebecca replied with the comment ‘Just what is ACTUALLY wrong with films with subtitles’. I thought that this would be a good subject for a blog.

The thing is my preference of films without subtitles says far more about me than it does about the films. I fully appreciate that Britain and the US aren’t the only ones to make great films and there is a whole world of cinema out there waiting to be discovered. But to me having a film where I’ve got to read the whole way through. Making sure that I read fast enough to finish each line before the next line appears. Sounds like hard work. The old line is of course, if I want to read I’ll buy a book, but there is more than that. A film is a visual art which transports you to a different place, It can entertain. It can educate. It can play with your emotions. I’m sure each director aims to ensure that their film does all of these to the best they can. Can you have a full experience if you are reading subtitles the whole way through?

Another problem I have is my appalling attention span. I really cannot concentrate on anything for any length of time, I’ve missed many a key moment in a film or TV programme due to me not giving it my full attention. I’m writing this blog on the train home and I’ve probably spent 50 percent of my time writing and the other looking out of the window. I have wondered if I’m borderline dyslexic. They have short attention spans and whilst my math and ICT skills are really good. I always struggled with English at school. My teachers blamed it on me missing nearly a whole year of school when I was very young with various chest complaints (whooping chough, bronchitis etc). Though this isn’t stopping me trying to write a book. However, I’m sure that if I saw a film with subtitles I’d miss some key dialogue along the way and loose the plot of the film.

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At 6:00 PM, Blogger Janet E Davis said...

Watching a film (or tv programme) with subtitles is harder work but I found it became almost second nature when I started following the Scandinavian dramas on tv. If the story is a good one, I get absorbed, and even start to notice similarities or differences between the spoken language and the written language.


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