- Feb 8, 1999
- Real Name
- Robert Harris
The word of mouth about this epic-length (320 minute) Indian mob drama had me interested enough to prepare to view the entire film in one late-night session.
As full disclosure, I may do a few things moderately well, but foreign language skills have always eluded me. Some people, much like not having a sense of direction, may simply be born without them.
So with the embarrassing fact that I neither speak nor understand any Indian dialects out of the way, I can still depend upon those things we've come to refer to in the cinema as "sub-titles."
Sub-titling a film is an incredible melding of art and technology, and I won't even begin to explain how they've been physically added to the long strips of film over the years.
I've created several sub-title bands, so the technology and necessities are known.
In the early days of sound, into the 1940s, they tended to be occasionally poorly translated, and very brief. In many case, as with the Pagnol films, entirely missing the actual, sometimes bawdy humor.
Even if they were prepared properly, one could be stuck with watching an entire ten minute sequence, of people seated around a table, with a checkered tablecloth -- and half the words being unreadable.
Titles much translate the dialogue, making sense of what is being spoken, and yet get on and off the screen quickly, and at the same time be easily readable.
This is all preface to my proposed evening with Gangs of Wasseypur, which in the end was a odd failure.
I'm not in a position to give the film numerical ratings, although from what I saw and heard the quality of Cineliciouspics' Blu-ray seems to be fine. The film was shot in S35, and taken to a 2k DI, toward a final scope format.
Let me return to the preparation of sub-titles for a moment. The first thing needed is a translation. That translation must then be whittled down to as few words as possible to allow the audience to understand the dialogue on screen. Then the timing, when each line of titles appears and disappears from the screen is measured, hopefully hitting both artistic as well as technical requisites.
But this is why you'll find no numerical ratings, and no real review.
I never watched the film.
I wasn't able to.
Since I don't speak the language, I'm dependent upon those sub-titles.
And whatever entity prepared the titles for this film, and let's not leave out whomever did the QC failed at every turn.
If a line of dialogue as spoken might be something like "If they move, kill 'em," that's short enough to translate and get on screen.
Things change measurably, and annoyingly so, if those sub-titles read:
"Pike Bishop: If they move, kill 'em."
or in the case of some of the titles on Gangs of Wasseypur might read:
"Really bad guy: Kill them all! Kill the women and children!"
At around the ten minute mark, I gave up, as the sub-titling was so horrifically created, it made viewing unbearable.
So, unfortunately, there you have it.
The first "Fail" from A few words...
for epic fail sub-titling.
The Blu-rays should be recalled and re-titled by someone who knows what they're doing.
Definitely not recommended. Save yourself the pain.
I'm told that the problem that I'm perceiving is not a problem, but rather, the way that the film was sub-titled, ie identifying the character speaking for viewers, when said character is off screen.
While I find it extremely disturbing, to a point at which I cannot stay in the film, some may not.
As noted, I've heard that the film is worth the time investment. If readers feel that it won't be disturbing, go for it.
This is a sub-titling function quite new to me. Those producing the discs are doubtless trying to be helpful, not creating problems.