forty years in six hours

This week, I watched all six hours of La Meglio Gioventu, a wonderful movie about the history of an Italian family, and through them, the history of Italy itself. It spanned the years from the sixties up until 2003, and although I feel some scenes could definitely have been *lots* shorter without losing anything crucial to the film, and in fact adding some momentum, I totally felt it was worth it.

But one thing I do have to complain about is the subtitles. I think they were the most atrocious subtitles I have ever seen. There were so many grammar mistakes contained in those lines; but also phrases and words that aren’t Dutch. That really annoyed me, and I found myself yelling at the tv every time a particular bad translation came up (to the amusement of my mom, by the way. She said that it showed that however much I complain about my Dutch not being completely up to par, I do have an inherent grasp of the language. I think she’s right about that – my Dutch isn’t that bad. It’s just not as good as I would like it, being a language/word freak).

Now, I don’t speak a word of Italian, so I have to rely on the subtitles to tell me what’s going on (other than the body language of the characters, which only tells you so much). I found myself wondering if the character was actually saying what the subtitles said he was saying, or if it was something different altogether. I see that sometimes on American tv shows – a character will use some bit of colloquial language or slang and it won’t be translated in the correct manner. It’s one of the reasons I like to read books in their original language, even though that pretty much limits me to English and Dutch books. At least then I know that if I get the meaning wrong, it’s my own fault, without the aid of a translator. I like making my own mistakes, thank you.

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