Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Speaking in Tongues


Hadn't seen a movie in a theatre in awhile, and I had a hankering for popcorn, so decided to take the two-minute walk around the corner to Cinema Jaures to see a 'VO' movie. VO is Version Originale, and often that means the dialogue is in English with French subtitles.

Yes, there was some English. Even a little Hebrew. And there were French subtitles. But much of the dialogue was in German. The only German I know is "Ich liebe dich," so I followed the storyline partly from the occasional French words I thought I understood and through the characters' body language and facial expressions.

The film was about Hannah Arendt, a social philosopher, German Jew, living and teaching college in New York, who was sent by The New Yorker magazine to cover the 1961 trial in Jerusalem of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann (who had been tracked down in Argentina by the Mossad). Many people were outraged when Arendt characterized the monster as an unthinking clown, and even more so by her suggestion that some Jewish leaders had been unwitting accomplices in the concentration camp deaths of 6 million.

I identified with Arendt in at least one respect - her editor calling to inquire when the manuscript would be delivered.

Oh, no popcorn at the theatre. On this night, all they had were peanut M&Ms.

But admission was only 5 Euros, and the best part -- no endless stream of advertisements, coming attraction trailers, and annoying messages to turn off your cell phone. When the lights go out, more or less on time, they get right into the movie.


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