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Top100 List Standardization: please help!


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#1 Anna J

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 07:45 PM

Hello, friends.

I'm putting this in a separate topic so it's easier for us to separate responses from the general List Reactions thread.

Ron Reed brought up a good point:

I understand always listing the English language title first for the sake of consistency, but I would like the editors to consider changing that up a bit. In instances where the commonly used title is the original foreign title, I would suggest using that title instead.

For example, "Ikiru" is just plain called "Ikiru" everywhere on the planet, whether the viewer is Japanese or North American or Martian. Yes, the English translation is "To Live," but nobody anywhere calls it that, and I sincerely doubt whether there's been a theatrical or DVD release using the English translation instead of the original title. (Interestingly, "Au hasard Balthazar" is listed by its original French title, rather than in English translation: maybe just because it's so awkward to translate? But if we're going for consistency, It ought to be "By Chance, Balthazar." Also, "La Promesse" is listed in its original language, which I would completely agree with: does anyone ever call it "The Promise"? Similarly, "Beau Travail"? Ushpizin?

Other films I think should perhaps be listed by their original title;

Ordet (definitely)
L'Enfant (maybe?)
Ostrov (maybe?)


We are certainly willing to put in the labor, but we're working from Wikipedia and/or IMDB for our information and we just don't know random trivia like the director preferring a certain title over another.

I believe it was agreed that in the final list we should list the foreign title first, then the English translation on the second line. If you have any objections or comments, please tell us here.

Also, help on any other mistakes like missing umlauts and the like would be much appreciated.

#2 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 07:59 PM

FWIW, in my film journal, I always put the original (and thus, sometimes, foreign) title first, followed by whatever more-popular English title the film might have. In this, I am following the IMDb's cue.

Where a film has been released on DVD by Criterion, it is tempting to say that we should just use whatever title THEY used -- hence, Bicycle Thieves instead of The Bicycle Thief or whatever the original Italian title was. But it would feel somewhat wrong to ignore the English title by which the film was predominantly known for so many decades (i.e. The Bicycle Thief). (Incidentally, I say this without having checked to see whether The Bicycle Thief is even on our Top 100 list; I just cite it as a for-instance of the kinds of issues we may have to deal with.)

#3 Persona

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:09 PM

I'm with Peter regarding going with Criterion and I'm with Ron regarding this:

Ordet

L'Enfant

Ostrov


And Ikiru.

And Au hasard Balthazar.

But -- The Passion of Joan of Arc, which I have downstairs -- I'm pretty sure that is in English.

Sheesh, at this point I'm already six toward 100, but I know if I don't do it Ron or Dale will, so...

Edited by Persona, 24 February 2010 - 10:11 PM.


#4 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:12 PM

Oh, here's another one to debate: Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew does NOT have "St." in the original Italian title -- and if memory serves, Pasolini was a bit miffed that the English-language distributor(s) added that bit to the title. I don't know if the film has ever been officially released in English without the "St.", but that might be something to consider.

#5 Persona

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:29 PM

OK, here goes. The pizza will take 13-15 minutes to make anyway.

Here, I've attempted to write them how they are known to us here in the community, except for that one Rohmer, no heck of an idea what that is (and a few others where I noted):

1. Ordet
2. The Decalogue
3. Babette’s Feast
4. The Passion of Joan of Arc
5. The Son
6. Au Hasard Balthazar
7. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
8. Andrei Rublev
9. Early Summer
10. The Gospel According to Matthew THIS ONE I DON'T KNOW
11. Diary of a Country Priest (to my knowledge there should be no "The," should there?)
12. Wings of Desire ("Der Himmel über Berlin”), 1987, Wim Wenders
13. The Seventh Seal
14. Ikiru
15. Three Colors Trilogy
16. The Mirror
17. Apu Trilogy
18. Floating Weeds ("Ukigusa") THIS ONE I DON'T KNOW
19. Munyurangabo
20. The Burmese Harp
21. Tokyo Story
22. A Serious Man
23. My Night at Maud's
24. Into Great Silence
25. Nostalghia
26. Still Life
27. Child, The ("L'Enfant") I change my mind THIS ONE I DON'T KNOW
28. The Bicycle Thief IMHO
29. A Man Escaped
30. Stalker
31. A Man for All Seasons
32. The Apostle
33. Ostrov
34. Close-Up
35. Wild Strawberries
36. Days of Heaven
37. Playtime
38. Winter Light
39. Through a Glass Darkly
40. The House is Black
41. ummer / The Green Ray ("Le Rayon vert"), 1986, Eric Rohmer NEVER HEARD OF IT
42. Day of Wrath
43. Silent Light
44. La Promesse
45. It's a Wonderful Life
46. M
47. Late Spring
48. Killer of My Name is Christian and I Hate Sheep
49. Solaris
50. Cyclist, The ("Bicycleran"), 1987, Mohsen Makhmalbaf THIS ONE I DON'T KNOW
51. The Spirit of the Beehive
52. Cries and Whispers
53. My Life to Live
54. The Straight Story
55. Flowers of St. Francis
56. Ponette
57. The Wind Will Carry Us Didn't notice that made the list, how cool.
58. Magnolia
59. Faust
60. Fanny and Alexander
61. Paris, Texas
62. A Moment of Innocence
63. The Trial of Joan of Arc
64. Beau travail
65. After Life
66. By Brakhage: An Anthology
67. Lorna's Silence
68. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
69. Harriet's on Fire
70. Derzu Uzala
71. An Autumn Afternoon
72. Heartbeat Detector ("La question humaine"), 2007, Nicolas Klotz THIS ONE I DON'T KNOW
73. Tender Mercies
74. Summer Hours
75. Rashômon
76. Becket
77. Black Narcissus
78. Eureka
79. Meshes in the Afternoon
80. Open City
81. Syndromes and a Century
82. Rosetta
83. Yi Yi: A One and a Two
84. Pickpocket
85. Punch-Drunk Love
86. Offret
87. Stroszek
88. Jesus of Montreal THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE JESUS SCORSESE FILM, PEOPLE
89. Ushpizin
90. Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher
91. Au Revoir, Les Enfants
92. Son of Man
93. The Virgin Spring
94. In Praise of Love
95. Crimes and Misdemeanors
96. The New World
97. M. Hulot's Holiday
98. The Return
99. Breaking the Waves
100. Song of Bernadette

Gotta go pizza's on got a doc to watch see ya suckas

Edited by Persona, 24 February 2010 - 10:37 PM.


#6 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:36 PM

The ones I know:

18. Floating Weeds ("Ukigusa") THIS ONE I DON'T KNOW

Floating Weeds is the only title I've ever seen this referred to as; I've never even heard of the original-language title.

27. Child, The ("L'Enfant") I change my mind THIS ONE I DON'T KNOW

Man, tough call. I've seen this both ways.

41. Summer / The Green Ray ("Le Rayon vert"), 1986, Eric Rohmer NEVER HEARD OF IT

The Green Ray is the far superior title, and that's what the film is called overseas (such as the U.K. DVD); unfortunately, in U.S. we usually stupidly call it Summer (such as on the region 1 DVD). So the title as above (Summer/The Green Ray) is probably best.

50. Cyclist, The ("Bicycleran"), 1987, Mohsen Makhmalbaf THIS ONE I DON'T KNOW

I've seen Bicycleran used in English-language media once or twice, but it's almost always The Cyclist instead.

We should also call A Moment of Innocence by its far superior festival title (and more literal translation of the original title) The Bread and the Vase. No, I cannot realistically defend this opinion.

Dale

Edited by M. Dale Prins, 24 February 2010 - 11:37 PM.


#7 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 12:15 AM

In that spirit, I recommend taking Wings of Desire and re-naming it Heaven over Berlin. :)

#8 MattPage

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 05:10 AM

: followed by whatever more-popular English title the film might have

But this also creates problems. Popular to whom?

For example, North American's tend to call Rossellini's Francis of Assisi film "The Flowers of St. Francis" (not even highlighted by Stef above) whereas we tend to call it by the closer, and more accurate translation (to both the title and spirit of the film): Francis, God's Jester.

No offence, but I hate "flowers of". It's such a crappy "lets-not-offend-people-who-venerate-St.-Francis" thing with no other apparent basis for it's use. But even SDG/The Vatican use "Jester" rather than "Flowers"

[disembarks hobby horse]

Ditto for Bicycle Thieves, NOT the incorrect singular. C'mon even criterion agree with us here.

I know this makes it more complicated for those organising it. Sorry.


Matt

#9 M. Leary

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 09:00 AM

I am a big fan of presenting the title in English according to its main distribution, and then putting the original language title in parentheses.

From Stef's list:

10. The Gospel According to Matthew (Unfortunately, I think I see it called The Gospel According to St. Matthew about 95% of the time)
11. Diary of a Country Priest (no "the")
15. Three Colors Trilogy (or The Three Colors Trilogy)
18. Floating Weeds (I think I have always seen it in English)
27. Child, The (That works.)
29. A Man Escaped (See here the nuances of the original title are important)
44. La Promesse (Typically see this one in French)
50. Cyclist, The (The Cyclist)
64. Beau travail (Another one we don't translate)
72. Heartbeat Detector (A good example of why we should include the English and the original. But The English title is extremely common.)
91. Au Revoir, Les Enfants (I think if you walked into a room of cinephiles and asked if anyone has seen Goodbye, Children, you would get a lot of strange looks. Well, granted you are in a room full of cinephiles so there are probably a lot of strange looks already.)

#10 du Garbandier

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 09:29 AM

It's maddening when you think about it. Why do some untranslated titles catch on when many others don't?

I suppose one reason must be that to non-speakers of the language in question, some foreign titles are more amenable than others to pronunciation, usually being only a few syllables or visually easy to digest (Ordet vs. Babettes Gaestebud, Ostrov vs. Vozvrashchenie, La Promesse vs. Un condamne a mort s'est eschappe ou Le vent soufflé ou il veut, Ikiru vs. Kakushi-toride no san-akunin.

BUT then why is The Son more common than Le Fils (and yet I hear L'Enfant more than The Child)? Maddening.

#11 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 10:07 AM

BUT then why is The Son more common than Le Fils (and yet I hear L'Enfant more than The Child)? Maddening.

Actually, I think it's this exact example that tells us why most (though not all) foreign-language titles catch on: The ability of an English-lanugage public to guess at a reasonable translation. Maybe 5% of English speakers who'd never taken a French class know that "fils" is "son," but a strong majority will see "enfant" and assume (more or less correctly) "infant."

See also La Promesse; Nostalghia; Au Revoir, Les Enfants; and *maybe* Beau Travail (although that's tougher).

Dale

Edited by M. Dale Prins, 25 February 2010 - 10:08 AM.


#12 du Garbandier

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 10:17 AM

Actually, I think it's this exact example that tells us why most (though not all) foreign-language titles catch on: The ability of an English-lanugage public to guess at a reasonable translation. Maybe 5% of English speakers who'd never taken a French class know that "fils" is "son," but a strong majority will see "enfant" and assume (more or less correctly) "infant."

See also La Promesse; Nostalghia; Au Revoir, Les Enfants; and *maybe* Beau Travail (although that's tougher).

Dale


Good point. And where the guessability factor fails--Ostrov, Ordet, etc.--there's the pronunciation aspect I mentioned.

#13 Cunningham

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 11:27 AM

Why not just googlefight, for example, "The Child" +Dardennes vs "L'Enfant" +Dardennes ?

#14 gigi

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 12:14 PM

The standard way of referring to films in my uni department is to place the name in original language first, followed by US general release translation in brackets, with director & year. A bit square but it works and all these debates about what the director preferred, and which English translation to use are left by the wayside. (The exceptions would obviously be the cases where it hasn't been released in the US.)

But then I'm one of those that thinks 'what's in a title?' With very few exceptions, I really don't think about titles. (Doubt would be a recent exception.) Otherwise it's just a convenient way of letting the person at the ticket booth know which film you want to go and see.

Edited by gigi, 25 February 2010 - 12:15 PM.


#15 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 12:25 PM

And then there are English-language films that get released under secondary English-language titles.

Forty-Ninth Parallel became The Invaders.

A Matter of Life and Death became Stairway to Heaven.

The Devil and Daniel Webster became Shortcut to Happiness.

And last but not least, Push became Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire.

Not that any of these films are on the Top 100. But it wouldn't shock me if something similar did come up there.

#16 M. Leary

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 12:39 PM

It's maddening when you think about it. Why do some untranslated titles catch on when many others don't?


It all boils down that the very first screening of a given film at its first festival showing. The first group of critics are walking out the door talking about the film and one says: "Wow. La Promesse is totally going to be on my top ten this year." Now it is stuck. Why rock the boat?

No but honestly, the guessability factor is a good theory. If it is something we can easily translate or say (Ostrov), we just leave it untranslated. If not, then it gets translate or altered, as is the case with Heartbeat Detector. An additional point of evidence for this theory as that a lot of this has to do with marketing. Putting Vozvrashchenie on a DVD cover is far more difficult from a design and shelf appeal standpoint than Ostrov or Nostalghia.

#17 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 01:08 PM

There is also the fact that Ostrov distinguishes that film from all other films that have been called The Island (such as, oh, a Michael Bay action-movie flop that came out around the same time).

Likewise, Ikiru distinguishes that film from, say, the Chinese films that have been called To Live when they come to North America (although, come to think of it, the IMDb seems to indicate that To Live was the ORIGINAL title of Yimou Zhang's film; the Chinese title apparently came later).

#18 Persona

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 04:25 PM

There is also the fact that Ostrov distinguishes that film from all other films that have been called The Island (such as, oh, a Michael Bay action-movie flop that came out around the same time).

Likewise, Ikiru distinguishes that film from, say, the Chinese films that have been called To Live when they come to North America (although, come to think of it, the IMDb seems to indicate that To Live was the ORIGINAL title of Yimou Zhang's film; the Chinese title apparently came later).


Thank you, Peter, I was just to point out that those two have to remain Ostrov and Ikiru for sure.

So my list stands. Thank God for frozen pizzas.

Edited by Persona, 25 February 2010 - 06:07 PM.


#19 Ron Reed

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:20 PM

Why not just googlefight, for example, "The Child" +Dardennes vs "L'Enfant" +Dardennes ?

Good suggestion.

All the DVD boxes and North American posters show this one as L'ENFANT rather than "THE CHILD." That's my vote. Though it's already posted, so likely it's decided.

Apart from that one, I think the right call has been made on all the others. And that one's not a big deal.

R

#20 John

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 03:35 PM

We've got Meshes of the Afternoon listed as Meshes in the Afternoon.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036154/