Wednesday, February 07, 2007

American nostalgia with subtitles (Ken)

If you have seen Robert ltman´s movie, you´ll recall Dusty and Lefty on stage at the "Prairie Home Companion" radio show doing the song about Bad Jokes. Dusty says something like, "There was a man in the front row at the burlesque show and the stripper says to him, 'Do you want super sex?' and the man says, 'I'll take the soup.'"

Now imagine trying to translate that into Spanish and make it funny. It's not.

Tonight we went to the movies at Cine Recoleta, a megaplex in an upscale mall a few blocks from our apartment. For our first attempt at going to the movies, we wanted to pick an American film with Spanish subtitles so that at least something would be familiar.

Wednesdays are bargain nights and the tickets are 11 pesos, five pesos off the usual adult admission. There was a long cattle chute that snaked its way to the ticket counter where a flashing number directed you to the next available teller--like the Motor Vehicles Adminstration only not as long of a wait.

Helen asked for "Dos billetas por "Noches Magica"' (the Spanish title of "Prairie Home Companion"). There is aways a twist; nothing is ever as you rehearse. "¿Qué precentación?" the girl asks. The movie starts in 5 minutes and the girls wants to know which showing we want. Helen was not flustered, "Ahora," she replies. Then the girl wanted to know where we want to sit. That was too much. Who could possibly anticipate and rehearse the Spanish exchange of having to express a seating preference for a movie. Helen did great though. The girl brought out a seaing chart and Helen pointed--the old universal-index-finger-comunication-option. It was odd to have reserved seating on a Wednesday night in a mall cineplex.

This is an odd movie to see in a foreign country. I mean, "Prairie Home Companion" is a bit eclectic even if you are an avid NPR listener. The quirkiness is headshakingly odd even for the initiated. Now imagine enountering it with subtitles. We know enough Spanish to know that what was written was not aways even close to what was said. All the puns were just substituted with some innocuous, unrelated text.

Next time, maybe we'll work up to an Argentine film. The novelty alone will make it interesting at least once.


Jos said...

Seating chart for the movies?

I recently saw an Argentine film called "Buenos Aires 100 km." It is an interesting low-budget film about the lives of four 13-year old boys. I speak a different "Spanish" and had a hard time understanding it. After the fourth or fifth time I realized it was a drama and not a comedy:)

Chas said...

"Quieres sexo magnifico?"
"Sopa, por favor."

Get it?

(No soap radio)

Chas said...

PS: Hey, the phisherman went away?


emilyeffinconrad said...

this just seems sad

miss tango in her eyes said...

Did you understand the chopped up head sculpture in the lobby? It looks like it had been cut up by a hard boiled egg slicer.
We went to see The Pursuit of Happiness, yesterday. It was kind of stressful, we were just wanting it to be over and get to the "happy" part.