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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
This is apropos of nothing and more on the 'translation shading a film a different way' angle but this has reminded me of my favourite bit of 'misinterpretation'. When I first watched Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run in the original German langauage version with English subtitles this scene at the very end of the film appeared:
[Reveal] Spoiler: "Spoiler for Run Lola Run"
where Lola finally 'optimises her timeline' and hitches a ride with the ambulance (rather than causing it to crash or getting run over by it!) and finds that inside there is the security guard character from her father's bank being treated with CPR after a heart attack. In the subtitles Lola says "I'll stay with him", holds his hand, they have a long, silent moment together and the guard's heart rate normalises in one of what I'd eventually learn would be Tykwer's 'magic realist' moments in his films!

A few days later I watched it with my mum in the dubbed into English version and when that moment came up, Lola instead says "I belong to him". Which after the film ended my mum said made it seem to her that perhaps Lola's real father was this minor security guard character rather than the colder, adulterous banker father! It was fascinating to me that just changing a sentence threw a whole new angle on the film that I'd not considered in the viewing of the film in its subtitled version. And listening to Tykwer's audio commentary didn't throw much light on it, as during that scene he just says that: "There an invisible line between them that is disturbing without explaining it"!

Whether he's actually Lola's father or not is ambiguous (and really not present at all in the German version, where it seems more about the 'miracle'), but that was a fun moment of learning about the nuances of translation!

Its also interesting in building up that security guard character's role into quite a major one by implication, considering he (literally!) kicks off the film in the pre-credits sequence, and tails the diverging timelines together with the ambulance scene at the end.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester
MichaelB wrote:
When I create hard-of-hearing subtitles from scratch (which I do rather a lot of at the moment), I'm almost always given an official transcript by the rightsholder to work from, and I often encounter mistakes caused by the transcriber blatantly mishearing what's being said.

With regard to what Colin said, sometimes you do indeed have to précis what's actually being said, even for hard-of-hearing subtitles. Looking at my two current projects, both courtesy of the same writer (Peter Nichols), with The National Health, I found I was able to retain the overwhelming majority of the dialogue, but A Day in the Death of Joe Egg was much tougher because the delivery is noticeably more rapid and overlapping, so I had to "capture the essence" a fair bit more. My subtitling software internally assesses the length of the subtitle and the amount of time it's onscreen, colour-coding the end result, and while I sometimes overrule this (there's a passage in The National Health that's full of polysyllabic medical gibberish where it seemed to me that the reader would get the gist even if they didn't have time to process every syllable), in general I find it's a good idea to stick to the rules.

There's something I have been watching recently - and I cannot remember what - that has a staggering number of errors where the person doing the subtitles is clearly mishearing what the characters are saying.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
TMDaines wrote:
There's something I have been watching recently - and I cannot remember what - that has a staggering number of errors where the person doing the subtitles is clearly mishearing what the characters are saying.

This is why, even if the rightsholder has provided a set of ostensibly complete and fully timed subtitles, I have to go through them line by line - but I'm only likely to spot mistakes myself if the language is French or Italian (or English) and, ideally, if I have a written transcript of the original. This is why I don't enjoy working on films where I don't understand the language at all, as I tend to be very hands-on when it comes to subtitling and I don't like having to grope in the dark. Mind you, by the same token I'm much less personally aware when mistakes are made, so I worry about them less!

I was talking to Jerzy Skolimowski about this a few years ago, and he said he pretty much disowns the English subtitles on Barrier, which were translated before he had cause to learn English himself. Sadly, they're the only translation that's ever been on offer, and I suspect the film will have to be restored before anyone has another go, although I suspect this will be with Skolimowski's enthusiastic personal participation. If I remember rightly, his major complaint was that the translator completely missed the complexities of his original script - I daresay it's a real challenge to translate properly, as it's crammed with puns and literary allusions, but it would be nice if someone gave it a more conscientious go. (Although what I've seen makes it clear that it ranks very high indeed amongst Skolimowski's best films, as far as I'm concerned I haven't really seen it properly.)

Oh, and I really felt for the guy/gal charged with subtitling the audio commentary on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne - I had to redraft the bit where Walerian Borowczyk is talking about being influenced by Sir Henry at Rawlinson End because he only refers to it as Rawlinson End and the poor translator clearly didn't have a clue what he was on about. Since Borowczyk was uttering an English title in thickly Polish-accented French, I might not have understood myself if I didn't already know that story, so I had every sympathy.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc
Beautiful transfer. The extras are just so paltry. Despite the incredible transfer which is more than enough here, I would have loved a nice documentary on the first version of the film that was ruined and the production of the second go around. Also, if they didn't include it with Ivan's Childhood, I'm wondering what film will get the The Steamroller and the Violin as an extra. Isn't his version of The Killers on a CC disc? I would have liked more from the booklet as well. This is a Top 5 film for me, so more context would have been even more appreciated.

bunuelian wrote:
After slumming it for so many years with a bad transfer it's pretty astonishing to see Stalker like this. I'm floored.

When I first "discovered" Criterion back in ~2001 I emailed Mulvaney about adding Stalker to the collection. I take all the credit for it finally being here, of course.


Many of us sent that same email at that time.

I'll take credit ahead of time for all of the Bela Tarr requests.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:31 pm
My local cinematheque is screening the new restored versions of Stalker and Solaris in about a month. Suffice to say that I'm pretty stoked.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc
IFC here in NYC is playing Stalker this week.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:17 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:01 am
Has anyone compared the FilmStruck version to the new blu ray? Obvious bit rate differences aside, is it a massive difference or the same transfer ? I love physical media but don't have much space for it especially if the entire disc is streaming at my fingertips. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:36 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:31 pm
I have a question about Russian films in general, for anyone knowledgable on the subject: why is every Russian film after 1972 shot in 1.37:1? I use the year 1972 kind of arbitrarily only because I know Solaris is 2.35:1. After that film and year, every Russian film I've seen is always in Academy ratio. Does it have to do with the declining economy effecting the number of film stocks that can be used?


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
aox wrote:
Beautiful transfer. The extras are just so paltry. Despite the incredible transfer which is more than enough here, I would have loved a nice documentary on the first version of the film that was ruined and the production of the second go around.


The "nice documentary" already exists, and Criterion was aware of it - so I wonder if there were other reasons for not including Rerberg and Tarkovsky: The Reverse Side of Stalker?

I have not the tiniest shred of evidence for this, but the involvement of Tarkovsky's son in the Criterion project might have stymied any plans in that direction, since neither of his parents comes out of the doc at all well, especially his mother.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack
Robespierre wrote:
I have a question about Russian films in general, for anyone knowledgable on the subject: why is every Russian film after 1972 shot in 1.37:1? I use the year 1972 kind of arbitrarily only because I know Solaris is 2.35:1. After that film and year, every Russian film I've seen is always in Academy ratio. Does it have to do with the declining economy effecting the number of film stocks that can be used?


70mm, at least, was still used pretty much right up to the end of the USSR (see the list here). But in the mid-'70s the Soviet film industry came up with the "Universal Frame Format," which was basically Super 35 before Super 35, i.e. utilizing the full 35mm frame with the idea that the image could be reframed to different ARs for different purposes. So some of the Soviet films that you've seen in Academy ratio were quite likely shown in widescreen theatrically, perhaps even in 2.35:1—but they also could've been shown in 1.37:1 in venues not equipped for anamorphic projection. Stalker (at least the second, final version) used the Universal Frame Format, but it's clearly composed for Academy and I very much doubt there was ever a 2.35:1 version.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc
MichaelB wrote:
aox wrote:
Beautiful transfer. The extras are just so paltry. Despite the incredible transfer which is more than enough here, I would have loved a nice documentary on the first version of the film that was ruined and the production of the second go around.


The "nice documentary" already exists, and Criterion was aware of it - so I wonder if there were other reasons for not including Rerberg and Tarkovsky: The Reverse Side of Stalker?

I have not the tiniest shred of evidence for this, but the involvement of Tarkovsky's son in the Criterion project might have stymied any plans in that direction, since neither of his parents comes out of the doc at all well, especially his mother.


That's a real shame. But, thanks for the tip. I hadn't heard of this doc before and will seek it out.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:31 pm
Interesting, Fanciful Norwegian. Thanks for the info.


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 Post subject: Re: 888 Stalker
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 pm
aox wrote:
That's a real shame. But, thanks for the tip. I hadn't heard of this doc before and will seek it out.

the doc is up on youtube: Rerberg and Tarkovsky: The Reverse Side of 'Stalker' (2009)

I would say that the doc is one-sided (I mean obviously, given that it is from Rerberg's side), but no-one has definitively proven where the fault lies in the failure of the first version. Supposedly, when one of the Strugatsky brothers asked if the film was meant to be out of focus during the first screening of the footage, Rerberg exploded and called the Strugatskys shit writers (which, to me at least, doesn't necessarily seem to be the behavior of someone not at fault of such a large production fuck-up). Rerberg also asserts that Andrei Konchalovsky was a far superior director, which I find quite hilarious (Tango & Cash anybody?).


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