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DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST - the English subtitles

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  • Ken M
    There are some abominable errors in the subtitled translation of the Criterion print of DIARY, ones which totally spoil or prevent appreciation of the key
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 28, 2010
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      There are some abominable errors in the subtitled translation of the Criterion print of DIARY, ones which totally spoil or prevent appreciation of the key passages in which they occur.

      A French-speaking friend and I were re-watching the print the other night.

      In the scene in which the priest collapses in the mud and is found and tended by the girl Seraphita, his narration leading to this moment talks of the virgin Mary and speaks of 'the face before which all must kneel'. But suddenly the subtitles refer to 'Him' before returning to the incident with Seraphita. The quite erroneous translation of 'Him' totally throws the viewer. (My friend noted that the English translation of Bernanos's novel here has: 'Yet I saw it [the face].' Certainly not 'Him'.) In other words, Seraphita's face momentarily becomes for the priest that of the virgin Mary. But such a connection is totally destroyed for the film viewer of the English-subtitled print.

      Worse, if anything, is a passage later in the film where Olivier, the Foreign Legionnaire, speaks of another Legionnaire, a priest (it turned out), who had died after being 'strung up like a sausage ... a bullet in his belly'. The viewer of the English-subtitled print here can only go, 'Huh?', with thoughts of some sadistic rite or perhaps of a bizarre suicide. In actual fact, the soldier in question had died after a battle or skirmish and then his body was carried away on a mule. The English translation of the Bernanos novel here has: 'How did he die? Strapped to a pack-mule like a sausage. He got a bullet in his belly.'

      I know it could be a bit late in the day to report these matters, and I understand that Criterion has stopped issuing DIARY. But maybe someone else will pick up the film - with its current English subtitles? I'm wondering if anyone here has suggestions on how to publicise these blemishes and hopefully to get them put right sooner rather than later (or never)? DIARY is surely too much of a masterpiece to let these matters stand (or drop).

      - 'magaroulian'
    • Crescent9
      Does not CRITERION have a comment site to record these errors? I know there is a Criterion Collection Group somewhere on the internet. Tony W.
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 28, 2010
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        Does not CRITERION have a comment site to record these errors? I know there is a Criterion Collection Group somewhere on the internet.

        Tony W.

        --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Ken M" <muffin@...> wrote:
        >
        > There are some abominable errors in the subtitled translation of the Criterion print of DIARY, ones which totally spoil or prevent appreciation of the key passages in which they occur.
        >
        > A French-speaking friend and I were re-watching the print the other night.
        >
        > In the scene in which the priest collapses in the mud and is found and tended by the girl Seraphita, his narration leading to this moment talks of the virgin Mary and speaks of 'the face before which all must kneel'. But suddenly the subtitles refer to 'Him' before returning to the incident with Seraphita. The quite erroneous translation of 'Him' totally throws the viewer. (My friend noted that the English translation of Bernanos's novel here has: 'Yet I saw it [the face].' Certainly not 'Him'.) In other words, Seraphita's face momentarily becomes for the priest that of the virgin Mary. But such a connection is totally destroyed for the film viewer of the English-subtitled print.
        >
        > Worse, if anything, is a passage later in the film where Olivier, the Foreign Legionnaire, speaks of another Legionnaire, a priest (it turned out), who had died after being 'strung up like a sausage ... a bullet in his belly'. The viewer of the English-subtitled print here can only go, 'Huh?', with thoughts of some sadistic rite or perhaps of a bizarre suicide. In actual fact, the soldier in question had died after a battle or skirmish and then his body was carried away on a mule. The English translation of the Bernanos novel here has: 'How did he die? Strapped to a pack-mule like a sausage. He got a bullet in his belly.'
        >
        > I know it could be a bit late in the day to report these matters, and I understand that Criterion has stopped issuing DIARY. But maybe someone else will pick up the film - with its current English subtitles? I'm wondering if anyone here has suggestions on how to publicise these blemishes and hopefully to get them put right sooner rather than later (or never)? DIARY is surely too much of a masterpiece to let these matters stand (or drop).
        >
        > - 'magaroulian'
        >
      • michal.oleszczyk82
        The worst translation I ever saw was actually on another Criterion DVD, that of Polanski s KNIFE IN THE WATER. The cover flaunts subtitles translated by the
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 29, 2010
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          The worst translation I ever saw was actually on another Criterion DVD, that of Polanski's KNIFE IN THE WATER. The cover flaunts "subtitles translated by the director", but in this case it's a major liability, not an advantage.

          Polanski must have lost his supple hold of Polish a while ago (no wonder, if one is leading as multilingual, multinational life as he does). As a result, long stretches of dialogue are not translated at all, and there are some mistakes that made me cringe, and I'm not a nit-picker by nature, mind you.

          --Michal

          --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Ken M" <muffin@...> wrote:
          >
          > There are some abominable errors in the subtitled translation of the Criterion print of DIARY, ones which totally spoil or prevent appreciation of the key passages in which they occur.
          >
          > A French-speaking friend and I were re-watching the print the other night.
          >
          > In the scene in which the priest collapses in the mud and is found and tended by the girl Seraphita, his narration leading to this moment talks of the virgin Mary and speaks of 'the face before which all must kneel'. But suddenly the subtitles refer to 'Him' before returning to the incident with Seraphita. The quite erroneous translation of 'Him' totally throws the viewer. (My friend noted that the English translation of Bernanos's novel here has: 'Yet I saw it [the face].' Certainly not 'Him'.) In other words, Seraphita's face momentarily becomes for the priest that of the virgin Mary. But such a connection is totally destroyed for the film viewer of the English-subtitled print.
          >
          > Worse, if anything, is a passage later in the film where Olivier, the Foreign Legionnaire, speaks of another Legionnaire, a priest (it turned out), who had died after being 'strung up like a sausage ... a bullet in his belly'. The viewer of the English-subtitled print here can only go, 'Huh?', with thoughts of some sadistic rite or perhaps of a bizarre suicide. In actual fact, the soldier in question had died after a battle or skirmish and then his body was carried away on a mule. The English translation of the Bernanos novel here has: 'How did he die? Strapped to a pack-mule like a sausage. He got a bullet in his belly.'
          >
          > I know it could be a bit late in the day to report these matters, and I understand that Criterion has stopped issuing DIARY. But maybe someone else will pick up the film - with its current English subtitles? I'm wondering if anyone here has suggestions on how to publicise these blemishes and hopefully to get them put right sooner rather than later (or never)? DIARY is surely too much of a masterpiece to let these matters stand (or drop).
          >
          > - 'magaroulian'
          >
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