Sunday, November 20, 2011

Feasting on Films

I had the luxury of watching five movies this weekend. Having both the gift of time and an interesting way to spend it was like savoring rich chocolate and sipping a delicious red wine. I started my treat yesterday with the most recent "Jane Eyre." Having missed it when it was released in the States, I was thrilled to be able to see it on the big screen. Jane Eyre was one of my favorite books in junior high and seeing it again as an adult made me realize how strongly I was influenced by Jane's character and independence. I just wish I had her vocabulary with which to express myself. I then watched "Paris, Texas", a 1984 Sam Shepherd movie. I guess I was too busy getting married to have seen or remembered this when it first came out but it was a good film. The scorched brown earth of Texas and the wide main street littered with tumbleweeds made me feel like I was almost home.

Today was my tour of Europe and exposure to all the languages I know. I started with "Lisbon", a German film set in Portugal, spoken in German, Portuguese, and English, and subtitled in English and Turkish. This was a good "friendship" story where one friend had the courage and love to tell the other to get off his duff and get to work.

My second and favorite film of the day was "The Women on the 6th Floor" a French film set in modern day Paris and Spain spoken in French and Spanish with French, English, and Turkish subtitles. The reason I'm mentioning the languages is because I was using English, German, and French to add to my Turkish vocabulary. It was weird what was happening in my brain. The thing that was really interesting was when I started noticing when the person running the subtitles (yes, a person sits at a laptop attached to a projector pointed at the bottom of the big screen and tabs through Power Point slides of translations) was not in sync with the movie. Even more interesting to me was when my brain did not agree with the English translation. I know it takes a lot to be a translator, but in some cases, I think I could have done a better job today.

The last film of the day was "The Mosque." I had heard about this film and the basic plot was kind of interesting...a film maker had erected a movie set that included a mosque on private land in Morocco. During the making of this movie the local residents had started praying at the fake mosque so the land owner was not allowed to demolish the fake mosque nor could he go back to farming his land to support his family. The problem with the film was that there was no ending and left me just going "huh" at the end.

Although the day was really great, the highlight for me was hearing native English spoken in the lobby of the theater after the third movie. As a matter of fact, the sound of English voices and their blond hair attracted me enough to go say "hi" and "where are you from?" It turns out they were the jury for the film festival and had come from all over: LA, Toronto, the UK, France, German and Spain. (I need a job like this!) They asked me which films I'd seen and I was "spot on" in liking "The Women ..." and in my confusion of "The Mosque." They encouraged me to see "The Finger" and "Le Havre" which I can just make this week, if I head to the cinema directly from school.

Although I may never again have the opportunity to watch this many movies in one weekend, I'm glad I was able to enjoy the feast here in Malatya.

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