at the movies
wednesdays are premiere nights in Berlin. previously this just meant there’s a 50-50 chance i should invest in the new edition of zitty. i was misinformed. apparently berlin can do hollywood too. the red carpet. the whole shebang. a huge warner bros and proSieben love fest.
this afternoon i arrived just as the apostrophe was being put into place. i was a bit surprised to see Ocean’s Twelve in bold white at sony center. it was just coincidence, me and the apostrophe.
i’ve always been intrigued by the translation of movie titles. probably because they are generally bad. perhaps ocean’s twelve is the same in the german and original versions because the translator just gave up.
in france, i was convinced that the person who started out as a movie title translator was eventually anointed "Poet of Literal Cinematic Translations" by the Académie Française. i can imagine him or her sitting in a half office straight out of Brazil, typing titles into 3615 Babelfish. compound words and simple grammatical efficiency don’t seem to translate well in french. titles like The Horse Whisperer evolve into "The Man Who Murmurs Breathlessly into The Eager Ears of a Horse."
in germany, my experience has led me to believe such a poet does not exist. instead, i am certain that there must be an Office for Foreign Movie Title Simplification and Expressiveness Extermination. the director of this Office receives bonuses for removing adjectives or avoiding literal translations in favor of randomly generated words. back in 2000, it wasn’t hard to figure out that crouching tiger, hidden dragon would be translated as tiger und dragon. i don’t know what the original title was in mandarin was but i’d bet it wasn’t tiger and dragon.