June 22, 2021

Duels and losses | Culture

Duels and losses | Culture

Mexico was for years a bastion of dubbing. Several generations of Spaniards grew up watching cartoons where squirrels and cats could be "chamacas" and "chamacos". No one seemed bothered by the issue and those versions acquired period charm.

When I settled in Barcelona in 2001 the technician who came to connect the Internet was surprised by my accent. When he finished, he broke the bill and said: "I can not charge a cartoon."

Very different was the attitude of those who subtitled Rome so that understand in Spain, as if it had been filmed in Coptic. I saw Cuarón's film in the Zapatista snail of Oventik. Beside me, the spectators put their hands under their balaclavas to dry their tears. From that rebel corner of Chiapas to the wealthy parades of the red carpet, Rome has connected with very diverse public. The decision to "translate" was absurd (if a character shouted "come", on the screen appeared "come", as if the viewers were subnormal), but opened a public debate that led to the timely protest by Cuarón and Spanish columnists.

How different is what we say in Mexico? What Valle-Inclán calls "pea" for Rulfo is "chícharo" and for Borges "pea". There is no cause for alarm: that legume does not lose its simple roundness when it is correctly named in several ways.

A succor saying defines Spanish as "the common language that divides us". Should we aspire to an exportable language? Living words are impure. In this regard, Juan Pablo Villalobos rightly says: "When someone poses to you, let's do neutral Spanish ', I wonder who speaks? " Perhaps only some telenovela beau or certain Mexican politicians have approached the aporia of speaking as if they were from nowhere.

The Castilian language has summoned love in this way: "stop, shadow of my elusive good" and summed up its effects of this other: "dust you will be, but dust in love". The exceptional thing is that both Sor Juana and Quevedo worked with an imperfect instrument.

We usually say inappropriate things. We are relieved to have a "benign" tumor, which is actually harmless; We ordered an "organic" salad as if the others were made of plastic; we accuse someone of being "cafre" without knowing that we offend a culture; we diagnose a person as "Mongol", discriminating against a country; we encompass women in the masculine plural, confirming the patriarchal supremacy of men. But with those crude utensils is gold.
Supported by black and white images, Cuarón achieved the powerful resurrection of a lost city. Those of us who lived there during that time recovered a space that our dreams had never granted us, lacking production resources. The mystery is that this joyfully localistic experience can be universal. Unlike tequila and cognac, emotions have no denomination of origin.

The decision to subtitle Rome It concerns less linguistic correction than the political use of languages. In none of the former colonies would attempt to subtitle a film by Almodóvar.
Is there a property title for the language? One of the greatest achievements of the Mexican Language Academy was that the word "Spanishness" came to the dictionary. Also in the cradle of the language its meaning is distorted. This does not mean that the vernacular is dispensable because regionalisms expand the natural possibilities of speech.

Andrés Trapiello rightly maintains that the Spanish of Don Quixote is less like that of present-day Spain than the Spanish of Bogotá to that of Valencia. Time is more unfaithful than geography. Trapiello took the risk of moving Don Quixote into Spanish today. The Knight of the Sad Figure ate "duels and losses", a dramatic name that according to specialists alludes to the breaking of religious fasts and does not mean anything other than eggs with bacon. How does Trapiello translate it? "Eggs with torreznos". Before anyone wants to subtitle their version, I defend the torreznos, which I have never spoken out loud, but they sound like a Spanish spoonful.

In the case of Rome, the subtitles served more to distract than to clarify: "check", which means "verify", became "look". If there was a Cantinflas Prize for linguistic disfigurement, it should distinguish that conversion from Spanish to Spanish.

The city of Rome was baptized in Latin as caput mundi, head of the world. The Rome of Cuarón confirms that every work of art is the center of a world and that the language serves for the greatest of astonishment: we are rare, but we are condemned to understand each other.


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