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Tuesday 30 April 2013, 13:35

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Pedro Almodovar has a new movie out this week called I'm So Excited. It's a comedy that is rooted in Spanish politics and society - but how much do we miss out on when watching films from other cultures?

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    Comment number 1.

    Y Tu Mamá Tambien is a classic example of a film that is lost in translation. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a superb film and I love it to pieces, but I always feel like I'm missing out on a great deal when I'm watching it. The political background is obvious enough, though there are many moments that pass me by (in the same way that certain scenes in classic Godard films do) but, perhaps more importantly, the english translation of the sexual conversations is very clunky. The film is intensely erotic to watch, yet the translation of the conversations into English results in some of the scenes losing their spark. A similar thing happens in Bergman's "Persona". It's to both of these films' credit, however, that they made me want to learn another language immediately, to experience them in all their glory.

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    Comment number 2.

    haha surely this is a way to play spot the racists on here - but i did think recently when i was watching the masterpiece "apocalypto" that cos it had an english speaking director and writer - i therefore dont mind hearing a different language - it's like another palette rather than another way of thinking - and thats my main gripe with foreign films is it's foreign thinking not just foreign talking and so i cant connect with its outlooks - i struggle to enjoy subtitle films anyway (unless it's japanese or a french film) - so i know i am in a deep minority in your fan base doctor

    comedy is a natural example - it's rare to find americans that understand or love "partridge" or "big train" as much as us - they tend to like the wacky stuff like "mighty boosh"

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    Comment number 3.

    I find this true of Bollywood to a great extent too. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people in India find it just as silly and over the top as in Britain, but I find sometimes that some of the dialogue translated into English sounds over-sentimental or saccharine, whereas I think it is quite poetic and beautiful in Hindi. When I try to translate it myself, it's always difficult trying to get across the real meaning of what they're trying to say without sounding ''corny.'' I don't know how true this is of other languages but this is just from my experience

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    Comment number 4.

    Aardman movies (especially Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit) vary in cultural significance between the English North and South. The experience of watching these movies if you're not familiar with English culture has got to differ wildly.

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    Comment number 5.

    I found Ong Bak utterly ridiculous. The lengths this guy seemed to want to go to for what in my mind was a garden gnome was at first laughable then just plain tiresome. The whole film was, apart from a few great action sequences, utterly awful. This may have been Thailand's answer to the greatest piece of filmmaking in history, but oh my god....


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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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