Distortion: The Problem of Dubbing in International Cinema–Part Three, A Kingdom of Isolation

A Kingdom of Isolation

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

In June of 2007, television personality and former Québécois politician Mario Dumont took his children to see Shrek the Third, the third installment of the popular ogre-centric comedy films. He left the theater outraged. The version of Shrek that he saw had been dubbed in France and then imported to Quebec, something that rendered it incomprehensible to his and apparently many other children. The dub, it seemed, had been infected with Parisian slang and garbled by an unfamiliar accent, unpleasantly distinguishing it from the international French Quebecers have come to expect in films and television. At the center of a media frenzy, Dumont called for a radical solution. He proposed a bill that would “require all movies distributed in Quebec to be dubbed in Quebec, or not shown at all.”¹ This bill did not pass. Continue reading


Distortion: The Problem of Dubbing in International Cinema – Part Two, Lost and Found in Translation

Lost and Found in Translation

Read Part One here.

Read Part Three here.

In this world, there are those who dub and those who sub. France, Spain, Germany, and Italy have historically been dubbing countries, replacing the audio of almost all foreign-language media, while smaller countries like those in Scandinavia have preferred subtitling in most cases. Globally, dubbing is most often used in films for small children, and as of late, in all blockbuster films. Continue reading

Distortion: The Art of Error

IMG_0453 copyGarrett Allen, Glitch One. 2015

The word glitch supposedly comes from the german word “glitschen”, which means “to slip”. A digital art movement has been started that explores the aesthetic of digital error or failure. I have been incredibly fascinated by this type of art and this movement and have attempted to teach myself the many different techniques. This is my exploration.

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Distortion: Inhaling the Fog: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice

“I don’t even know what I just saw” says Doc Sportello (played by Joaquin Phoenix) as he stares out into the misty California evening, obscured by stale joint smoke and the thick Los Angeles fog.  Beyond the haze lies the South Los Angeles shoreline and the enigmatic “Golden Fang,” a ship bearing heroin from the Golden Triangle. At about this time the viewer thinks, “I’m right there with ya, Doc.” Continue reading

Distortion: The Problem of Dubbing in International Cinema – Part One, From Hollywood with Love

From Hollywood with Love

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

American Queen Elsa might sing, “The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen,” but on the other side of the Atlantic, her French counterpart prefers a less literal image of the scenery. “L’hiver s’installe doucement dans la nuit, la neige est reine à son tour,” she sings, cleverly evoking the larger themes of winter and sovereignty in Frozen. Farther south on the same continent, Elsa continues to make it snow, but her voice is now that of the Spanish singer Gisela, who proclaims either “suéltalo!” (literally “let it go” in Spanish) or, in the Catalan version that Gisela also sings, “vol volar” (a slightly riskier translation meaning “it wants to fly”). Continue reading