Wednesday, 24 December 2008

L'extra terrestre

A few years ago I was in Paris during a rainstorm and took shelter in a cinema. The film was the re-release of E.T., dubbed into French. I previously saw ET at age 5, a formative experience for me. The update is thankfully minimal, just a few tweaks to the special effects.

Firstly, watching ET as an adult is an eye-opening experience as you can make sense of the behaviour of the adults in the film. For example I had no idea what the grown-ups were doing to ET after he died, the first time - now I can clearly see that, in a gesture of hopelessness at his alien physiology, they are following a standard advanced life support/resuscitation protocol. The film is written for children, and perfectly creates the sense - to a child - of a scary and perplexing adult world.

Secondly, dubbing the film into a language which I can use to only a small extent made absolutely no difference to the film. It could have been in Chinese, Linear B, BSL or filmed as a silent movie - the visual language of the film is so powerful and so clear that the script is more or less superfluous.

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