Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Hollywood represents foreign speech: a video slide show. - By Eric Hynes - Slate Magazine

How Hollywood represents foreign speech: a video slide show. - By Eric Hynes - Slate Magazine: "Like many contemporary American films, Eat Pray Love is a casually multilingual affair. After Liz (Julia Roberts) leaves New York for Rome, she makes a point of learning Italian, and director Ryan Murphy depicts her at various stages of comprehension, from a stammering negotiation with her landlady to a breathlessly fluent, restaurant-ordering triumph—accompanied by subtitles as needed. Dwelling on Liz's Italian serves to illustrate her newfound curiosity. It is both realistic and dramatically functional. But when she gets to India and Bali, and becomes preoccupied with spiritual growth, Murphy stops focusing on Liz's language skills. Locals conveniently speak to her in English, and there's nary a subtitle east of Rome."