Thursday, January 12, 2023

Rome Journal: Donkey Talk

Jerzy Skolimowski’s Eis playing at the Cinema Farnese, the art movie house near the Campo de Fiori. The film, which is in Polish, has been dubbed into Italian in lieu of having subtitles. If you see Steven Spielberg’s The Fablemans in Romeyou’ll most likely be seeing a dubbed version, though some movie theaters also show it with Italian subtitles. While dubbing from the Polish produces essentially two degrees of separation for the English-speaking viewer, the confusion is ameliorated by the fact that it’s all Greek to the main character who happens to be a donkey. EO is the perfect Polish movie to see in Italy (for an English-speaking moviegoer) to the extent that there’s almost no dialogue at all—apart from the cooing of the young woman who has taken EO under her “wing.” You may not understand either Polish or Italian but neither does the movie’s star. Skolimowski’s film tips its hat to Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthasar (1966), a movie about a donkey. Of course, the animal rights movement has grown in the intervening years (EO even benefits from a demonstration against the brutalization of captive creatures). To make matters more complicated, Isabelle Huppert’s cameo appearance, in which she breaks a number of dishes, is in French, but that’s what makes for horse races.

read "Why Big German Words Like Vergangenbangenheit Carry Weight" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Monkey Time" by Major Lance

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