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Monday, January 19, 2009

What would Scarlett Johansson sound like in Hungarian?

Originally uploaded by antaldaniel
I don't think I want to know, but I almost found out last night.

We were excited about going to the movies after a long time; yes, we've watched a lot of films in the past couple of weeks on DVDs but that's never quite the same. We miss proper cinema.

We're actually lucky to live in the city which managed to preserve a lot of its so-called art cinemas--places that are not part of some huge commercial chain but are small, independent with a friendly and cozy feel.

Yesterday, we picked one such spot and happily seated ourselves with popcorns and a packet of M&Ms in a tiny room (about 50 seats altogether), with only three more couples in the audience. We were goingto see 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona,' Woddy Allen's latest movie. We are both his fans and this fim was recommended to Ruslan by someone, although I read a damning review in 'The Guardian' months ago so I was a bit sceptical.

Unfortunately, we didn't get past the opening credits when we realised that we have bought tickets to see an American-Spanish movie with Hungarian dubbing. That's real bummer because:

a) as I mentioned, we came to see an American film, not a Hungarian take on an American film, and

b) we wouldn't be able to understand much of it because we don't speak enough Hungarian, but that is beside the point.

Speaking for myself here, even if I did speak fluent Hungarian, I want to hear the original language and the original actors acting, not some Hungarian chick impersonating Scarlett Johansson. In fact, when we are in Bulgaria and watch TV there, I am equally pissed off by this whole dubbing business, even though my Bulgarian is fluent.

It's not only unnatural, but so much of the acting is in the voices and you just completely kill that off when you dub a film. So why do they keep doing it in some countries? One of the arguments I heard was that it is cheaper, but that sounds pretty ridiculous, because you have to hire at least 3-4 people per film to read the stuff, whereas you only need one person to translate a film and put the subtitles in proper places. Not to mention that, when you dub, you still need someone to translate the film.

Another argument is that this is better for people who have reading difficulties but how many of those go to the cinema? Hungary has a pretty high literacy rate, as do most other countries in these parts, so it can't be that this is done for the sake of those 3% of general population who can't read?

Whatever the reason, I really wish they would stop doing it. It's STUPID!

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