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Category: Slices of Life

To dub or not to dub

To dub or not to dub: That is the question (with apologies to Shakespeare)

Like many people all over the world, I’ve been watching Lupin on Netflix. It’s been a huge success, even in the USA, where I’m told French shows apparently don’t usually do well.

It starts as a kind of a heist story, but as the series progresses, you realize there’s much more going on, and the heist has a symbolic significance. It also stars Omar Sy, who is one of my favorite French actors. But more of him later.

I also like a lot of French movies and TV shows. My French is basic schoolgirl French from the dark ages *g* but I’m very lucky in that we have a public TV station here that shows TV and movies from all sorts of countries — in the original language with English subtitles. We also have a cinema chain that each year features a “film festival” from countries like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavian, Asian and Latin American, as well as individual foreign films from a range of other countries. Again these are shown in the original language, with English subtitles.

So last month I started to watch Lupin. It’s not the first time I’ve watched a French series on Netflix — I loved Call My Agent which  was in French with subtitles.

Imagine my surprise when, as Lupin started, the voices of the actors were dubbed over with American voices.  No, no no! I told the TV screen! Dubbing ruins it. I think you lose so much of the atmosphere and subtlety if you dub an actor’s voice into another language. The voices, the expressions — acting is the whole person.

Of course, with subtitles you also lose some of the detail — they have to be brief and to the point, and they are often culturally slanted for an English-speaking audience — but for me that compromise is still much better than dubbing.

 So I went looking on line to see if I could watch Lupin without the dubbing. I found this article from the Chicago Tribune —and they agreed with me. Then,  after a little more exploring, I found that I could set up my screen on Netflix to watch it in the original French with English subtitles. So much better. (And if you speak/read another language you can select that too, I think.) Look up “help” in Netflix.

So I watched the first series of Lupin— one episode per night: I’m not a binge watcher, I like to spread out my treats—and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I’m about to start watching the second half of the series. I believe it was delayed by CoVid.

In the meantime, if you get the chance to watch more Omar Sy movies, these are two of my favorite French movies starring him.

The Intouchables  — here’s a trailer

Two is a Family (Demain Tout Commence) — here’s a trailer

Another French TV series on Netflix that I recommend is Call My Agent. (Original French title Dix pour cent; “ten percent”) I loved it. It’s a series set in an agency representing actors. Deals are struck, lost, mistakes made, coverups attempted, affairs are had, there is backstabbing, scheming, and all sorts. Each episode includes a real French movie star acting as themselves, which is fun. The dialogue is rapid fire, funny, snarky and clever.

The characters are fantastic, and they cover quite a range — straight, gay, young, middle-aged, old — in fact Liliane Rovère the actress who plays the agent called Arlette, is currently 88 years old! And on the show she is not only still a working agent, she is highly valued for her experience and skills. And there’s even a dog!

Another thing that impressed me was that pretty much every main character has a character arc across the first 3 series (18 episodes). I also really liked that series 3 tied the stories up nicely — so many series writers leave you hanging in the hope that another series will be commissioned. Not these guys — the finale of season 3 was wonderful. Here’s a trailer for the first series.

When Series 4 arrived, I dived into it and loved it just as much. Even though series #3 felt complete, this final series truly completed the story. If you decide to watch Call My Agent, I strongly recommend you begin with the first series.

Have you watched any of these shows? Recommend others? Do you get to watch many foreign TV shows or movies? Do you prefer subtitles or dubbing? And are you a binge watcher or not?

A Bingle

I had a little bingle the other night, a small prang (Australian slang for a car accident.) In the UK I’m told they also call them a shunt, and in the US a fender-bender.  Nobody was hurt, the damage to the cars was superficial — mainly a little bit of panel-beating and some paint required and in my case a new front indicator light.

Really, the worst thing about it was the embarrassment. It was my fault. I was doing a U turn and though I checked the rear-view mirror, I didn’t see the car in my blind spot, and when I pulled out — Bang! 

The even more embarrassing part then followed. See, I wasn’t properly dressed — I was wearing a t-shirt dress (that also works as a nightie) and showing my bare (hairy) legs. I was also wearing my fluffy sheepskin slippers. No make-up, and no mask. 

In my defence, I’d only come out to post a parcel full of tax papers, driving to the mail exchange (as opposed to walking to the corner post office) so that it would go out that night and arrive at its destination the following business day. The plan was that I’d be out of the car for 10 seconds, max, and nobody would see me — it’s not a busy road and there are usually no people around.

 So now having caused a bingle, not only did I have to get out of the car in all my (lack of) glory, I’d also come out without my bag, so I didn’t have my phone, or my reading glasses or my licence. There wasn’t even a paper or pen in the car. 

English was not the other driver’s first language so he handed me his phone to type in my details — but without my reading glasses, I couldn’t see to type them. “Hang on, I should have a spare pair of glasses in the car,” I told him, and dived into the glove box. Yay! I found the tubular metal container that holds my $2 shop skinny emergency glasses.  I opened it and triumphantly produced . . . a fold up fan! Well, it gets hot here in summer and an emergency fan is often as useful as emergency glasses. Though not on this occasion. The fan exactly fits the glasses container. <g> You can see the folded-up fan in the container on the left, glasses in the one on the right, and a similar fan behind them, opened up.

I think the poor guy was starting to think he was dealing with a nutcase!

Luckily I hadn’t yet posted my parcel so I showed him my sender’s name and address and he took a photo of it and seemed happier for that. He was really very nice, for which I was grateful. 

Anyway, it’s all dealt with now, my insurance company is handling it, and all I have to do is pay the excess, and take my car to the mechanic to get my indicator light fixed. It’s an old car and my friends have been suggesting that rather than get it fixed, I should buy a new car. So guess who’s been surfing car sales on the web? Oh, the temptation. . . 

And oh, dear readers, I succumbed! Here is my new car — a Hyundai i30 Active hatchback. It looks bigger in the photo, which I pinched off the dealer’s site, but it’s just as red and shiny. And it’s full of (slightly intimidating) technology!!! With a handbook the size of a brick. And it beeps and flashes at me for reasons I haven’t yet discovered. But it’s very smooth and quiet to drive, and I’m sure we’re going to get along just fine (as soon as it stops telling me what to do!)

A dawn smile

Last night I went out for dinner and to play cards with friends — only the second time in over a year, because we’ve been under various levels of Lockdown for most of the year.  Anyway  it was a “wee small hours” finish, but I had to get up early for a 7am zoom meeting with the Word Wenches — my blog group.  

Fitting in with US (east and west coast times) as well as UK and Australian times is tricky. So I got up at 6.30am to be ready  (I’m generally an early riser, but not after a 2am + finish the night before.) I made a large mug of industrial strength morning coffee and gave my dog Millie her morning bone. She raced outside with it and immediately started barking furiously. So, aware of my neighbors who live close and were probably still asleep, I raced outside to shut her up, and lo! She was defending me from these gently hissing floating monsters.

It was not only a beautiful dawn, but it’s the first time the balloons have flown in over a year — since CoVid happened. They used to be quite frequent — they take off from a field near my house, and I always saw them because my dog goes bananas — so this was a really cheering and hopeful sight.

I stood there like a loon, waving at the tiny figures in the baskets, which I don’t normally do but seeing them floating overhead once more felt a bit like a good omen.

And then I went inside and chatted on Zoom with my Word Wench friends. 

What a lovely start to the day.