entertainment

Can foreign-language films ever win over Hollywood?

10 Comments
By Javier TOVAR

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"The average American moviegoer goes to see between three and five movies at the cinema a year," said Tom Nunan, the producer of "Crash," which won the Oscar for best picture. "You think they're going to go see a Korean film? Subtitles? Forget about it."

Doesn't say much for the average American intelligence level, does it. Come on, it ain't that hard. You can do it, Johnny.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I know from experience that most (but not all) Americans do not want to read sub-titles. Have been trying for decades to get our kids to watch "Seven Samurai," and they just plain refuse, even when we gift them their own copy. Sad thing is that we know they would love it, if only they would give it a try. However, for my partner and me, I can't imagine missing all those great movies and TV shows. I especially like Korean and Japanese shows, while my wife is heavily into Russian and Hispanic language shows.

I was first exposed to foreign films at Uni. Once a week, for 25 cents or 50 cents, we could watch a foreign film, or an indie American film. The little converted theatre in the cafeteria was always filled up. I got hooked, and have been watching them ever since.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

No non-English-language production has ever won the best picture Oscar.

How about The Artist which had no speaking at all?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Have been trying for decades to get our kids to watch "Seven Samurai," and they just plain refuse

Funny you should mention the great Seven Samurai in an article about subtitled movies, because watching Seven Samurai, subtitled, back in the 1970s, was the movie that first got me interested in Japanese culture - first Kurosawa movies, then Ozu, then others up to the present day, all subtitled - that led me to Japanese literature, and to an appreciation of the culture generally, to learning about Japanese history, visiting Japan itself, through to finding Japan Today and the reason why I'm here commenting right on this page.

People who deny themselves so many of the great movies that people all over the world make, with their different perspectives, exotic locations, and everything you can see and learn from them that you'll never see & learn by limiting yourself to the Anglosphere experience, or to this time and place- that's such a shame. And to access all this, all you need to do is "overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles."

Good luck with the kids. Keep working at it. One day you - they - might make a breakthrough.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I watch everything I can with subtitles because I struggle with processing speech, especially if it's not a conversation I'm actively involved in...you get used to it really quickly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

For Japanese tv programs of all genre I appreciate the sub titles.

For movies, it gets tiresome to watch and rad at the same time.

And for dubbing...omg...that is so bad.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In my movie-watching lifetime, a non-English movie should've won the "Best Picture" Oscar twice:

2000: "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" should've beaten out "Gladiator" (another great movie)

2019: "Roma" was robbed by "Green Book" (a not-great movie)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cinema-goers everywhere tend to be averse to subtitles, including Japanese

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most people don't like to watch Great classic foreign films, Not because of the subtitle But of the quality they think it is just not modern.

Nowdays most of the those Great classic films have been remux or remastered in very high quality. If they know this, they will try because those people do watch modern foreign shows in subtitle, E.g. Terrace House!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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