Thursday, March 11, 2010

Random Notes on the Mexican Screen

Last night, I caught a few minutes of Spanglish dubbed into Spanish. Dubbed movies, especially those of actors whose voices you know well, are always hard to watch, but my God this was a miserable experience. The problem with Spanglish is that language barriers between Paz Vega and Sandler/Leoni are a running plotline in the movie, so they couldn't have them all speaking perfect Spanish. So the solution was to have the American couple speak horribly accented, utterly unpalatable Spanish throughout the picture. Since Sandler and Leoni occupy the screen for the majority of the movie, it feels like two hours of screeching chalk. (At least, I assume so, since as I said I watched only ten minutes or so.)

Also, the telenovela Corazón Salvaje (as you can tell, I have been really up on the high culture lately) has a big, climactic trial scene this week, and in typical novela fashion, what could take ten minutes has been stretched out over the course of two hours. (And I'm not sure it's over, since I didn't watch the end last night.) It's a rather absurd version of a scene you've seen millions of times before in Law and Order and My Cousin Vinnie and other such productions, with the judge trying in vain to control order amid alternatively damning and revelatory testimony, et cetera, et cetera. Which is to say, it resembles in no way the actual trials that an accused Mexican actually faces, given that Mexico's trials (outside of a few pilot programs initiated in the last few years) are almost all written and closed to the public. It's odd how the archetypal trial scene is Mexico has bypassed the reality of the Mexican legal system to anchor itself in Mexico's pop culture.

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