Friday, October 31, 2003

I'd really like to go to the cinema. However here all the English language films are dubbed. I guess I should go anyway and test my Italian out but suddenly it doesn't seem the elaxing experience I'm looking for.

99% of English language films watched in Italy are dubbed. I have no idea why - I'd choose subtitles over dubbing for a foreign language film every time - but they do. A friend of my lived with an Italian in England and apparantly the Italian thought Robert De Niro's real voice hilarious: significantly higher pitched than the Italian dubbing artist that plays him.

Yes, that's right: in the Italian dubbing industry, every actor is dubbed by the same person for each film. But, hold on a minute... how does that work? Doesn’t that mean one dubbing artist can't ever do more than one actor: if they do two, what happens if they play opposite each other?

In fact, when do dubbing artists attach themselves to an actor? Do they have to pick them out early (in the first speaking role?) and hope the actor's career takes off? What if it doesn't? Is the dubbing artist tied to them, their career stiffled by the limits of ambition, talent or luck of their Hollywood counterpart? Is there any other industry in the world in which an individual's success is down entirely to the efforts of somebody else (who's normally on the other side of the globe and who they'll probably never meet)? How does it all work? And is this just an Italian idiosycracy or commonplace?

Eddie Izzard is fluent in French. He once did a stand-up routine in Paris that involved a lengthy Sean Conenry impersonation. Standing there on stage cracking his jokes he became worried that nobody was laughing at the Connery routine. Later he realised why: the French, like the Italians, had never heard Connery in his normal voice. That seems tragic to me: the man is his voice.

Comments: Post a Comment