Say What?


on audiovisual and literary translation, subtitling, and the French & American film industries

“The most controversial romantic comedy of the year”

Still from the film "A cinq heures de Paris"

That, according to Le Monde, describes what has befallen the new Israeli film A cinq heures de Paris (Five Hours from Paris), apparently banned by the Utopia Theatre chain for political reasons.  Which are simply that it is Israeli and the opening happened to coincide with recent political events in the Gaza.  (A quick search though from other sources is inconclusive as to whether they renigged on the ban, or went through with it.)

The review, which apparently is consistent with much of the French media’s take thus far, goes on to praise the film for being “well-made”, full of “melancoly, humor and sweetness.”  If nothing else, the article goes on to note, the film’s gotten lots more attention out of all this than it otherwise might have.


Filed under: French film industry, ,

Five minutes with Richard Howard

I am thrilled to present an interview I had a few weeks ago with the plurally and internationally honored writer, translator, and teacher Richard Howard.

He’d first come to my attention from a brief meeting I’d had seven years ago with Françoise Kourlisky.  Preoccupied as I was (and still am), with translation and writing for TV and film, I promptly moved on to other things.  Fast forward to my birthday earlier this year, when I saw he was reading his work at a bar off in the East Village.

Poetry for me has often felt like some foreign language that only real experts should speak (in the same way many still regard French).  So it’s always with great relief when I hear someone who not only I can understand, but whose work I can enjoy, and therein find many levels of understanding.  Similarly, far, far too few people not only know very little about Richard Howard‘s work (even in the world of French translation!) but moreover, still fewer are aware that he has been an out gay man since the mid-1940s who socialized with the likes of playwright Edward Albee, composer William Flanagan, and savant Ned Rorem.

Note that in honor of LGBT Pride month, this interview is an extra 40 seconds long – the number of years since the first gay pride parade in New York, and Richard Howard received a Pulitzer Prize!

Filed under: divers, translation, , , , , , , ,

Belated Cannes postscript

Having procrastinated for several weeks busily distracted, here is my post-Cannes take, mostly because I was not there.  From everything I’ve read, it was definitely an off year, although there were numerous comparisons to 2008 when I was there, and just about everything I saw at that time both in and out of competition, during and after, was immanently forgetable.  One report was even so sour as to denigrate it as to being too “French“.  Pardon?  Isn’t this a French festival, though international in stature, that has for many reasons become an international launch pad for/distant extension of Hollywood?

That many buyers and sellers came away disappointed isn’t a first.  I even read somewhere that in years past some great titles slipped under the programmer’s radar to emerge purely through the market.

Filed under: French film industry, US film industry,