Subject and screenplay:
Christopher Thompson, Danièle Thompson
Les Films Alain Sarde, Canal+, Pathé, Tf1 Films Productions
Italian dialogues and dubbing direction:
Danièle Thompson’s film is a pleasant comedy using two excellent French actors, Binoche and Reno, with a 100 minutes of not too excessive squabbling. A light-hearted film, but well built and supported by a screenplay upheld until the end by a brilliant dialogue and by characters whom we like from the very beginning.
The plot is simple and seems to imitate the classic vaudeville atmospheres but in an era of mobile telephones and computers: he’s a famous cook and she’s a refined beautician, both escaping for different reasons; they meet at Paris airport and due to a series of misunderstandings and setbacks they spend the night together; in this way they get to know each another, clashing, trying to escape once again but in the end, fate is stronger than they are.
It’s a two person film, all pivoted on reciting, that’s why in the realisation of the dubbing column, particular attention was necessary to better safeguard its balance. Here, the problems begin, both on the dialogist and on the direction part. In fact it’s as if the dialogist didn’t understand that he had a French film before him with all its specificity and its cultural references, but has treated it as a caricature of itself, making, in many points, a translated manipulation through incorrect registers which show up the failure of the convention between film and spectator.
But here are some examples; Reno says “È un’americana doc.” (she’s a true American). The term “doc”, which means “controlled origin denomination” defines the commercial origin of some Italian wines, it can’t be used by a Frenchman with a Frenchwoman who’s not an international wine expert, otherwise we’re led to believe that the abbreviated term is used in France too, which isn’t true. On the same line: “Per struccarsi le serve l’Aiax” (to take make up off you need Ajax”). Here also, it’s not necessarily true that Aiax, a well known brand for household cleansing, is sold in France or elsewhere with the same name, but to use it in the dubbing (besides the voluntary or involuntary publicity given to a particular brand name) gives the spectator a feeling that the film has been dubbed in the supermarket down below. Let’s continue: in a French film, one can’t say: “It’s said in the French way”: “Si pronuncia alla francese”. Of course, they’re not big offensive crimes, but little stabbings which give the dimension of the superficiality and carelessness with which for some time now a lot of Italian dubbing is done and above all the same superficiality and carelessness of whom is responsible of the realisation of the dialogues. Further, and here the mistake is no longer venial: the female star has communist parents and in fact her name is Rosa Luxemburg, but in the film her name is Rose, and the thing becomes conflictual – and extremely embarrassing for whoever is listening – when the coupling with the surname comes up: He says: “Però è un bel nome, Rose.”(However Rose is a nice name) She says: “Sta per Rose Luxemburg”.(It stands for/ it means Rose Luxemburg).
Big mistakes aren’t missing either: at a certain point Binoche says: “La globalizzazione non so davvero cosa fosse.” (I have no idea what globalisation is). A little further on, a huge question mark comes up on what the original version was for her line: “Tutto quello che la sera la eccita la mattina le fa schifo” (all that excites her in the evening, horrifies her in the morning) Jean Reno makes a face as if someone has just told him that his mother has been raped by a football team, including the reserves. Our perplexity grows when he prepares a refined salad and asks the beautician “is that balsamic vinegar?” and she answers “No, è salsa di soia.” (No it’s soya sauce). You’d expect a “No, grazie” (no thanks) and instead he picks up the little bottle next to him and starts to pour the contents onto the salad as though there was absolutely no difference at all between the two ingredients.
But just as the dialogues aren’t perfect then neither is the direction. In fact one has the sensation that the direction is absent, as though the actors have been completely abandoned to themselves and that every now and again are on different recordings as though something was preventing them from perfectly entering into their character roles. It’s as though Massimo Corvo and Alessandra Korompay, although very good actors, weren’t sufficiently stimulated to reproduce the spontaneity and the necessary freshness to give the film all it’s allure.
Finally, the worst mistake, above all for a cook: menu is pronounced exactly like that and certainly not “meniù”.
[original review in Italian by Marnie Bannister]