CLINT EASTWOOD, BILL GERBER, ROBERT LORENZ PER DOUBLE NICKEL ENTERTAINMENT, GERBER PICTURES
WARNER BROS. PICTURES ITALIA
DUBBING SOUND TECNICIAN:
SOUND MIXER TECHNICIAN:
ENRICO DI TROIA
John Carroll Lynch:
STEFANO DE SANDO
STEFANO DE FILIPPIS
Gran Torino is Clint Eastwood’s latest creation about the American heroe/anti heroe. It might even be the last occasion we have to see him act, as he seems to have decided not to act on the big screen anymore. If this is the case, he will leave us with the best character he ever acted: Walt Kowalski, a veteran from the war in Korea, a grumpy old man, misanthropist and racist, always with his gun nearby. He is also the last American to be living in a neighbourhood full of Asians (Hymongs to be precise) who he obviously hates to death. So in general, an adorable old man! Those who expected the return of inspector Callaghan will appreciate Walt Kowalski, but will definitely be shocked by the character’s evolution: after realising that he has more things in common with the Hymongs than he has with his family, he decides to defend them from a local gang. At this point Callaghan wouldn’t have hesitated to pull out his magnum 44 and maybe Kowalski would have done the same when he was young. But Walt does not want to make the same mistakes of the past, he is sick of being considered the heroe of the situation just because he ‘s not scared to pull the trigger. Walt knows that he’s never been a heroe: but, as he reveals while speaking to a Hymong neighbour, it is enough for people to think you are a heroe to make you one. This time though, the heroe will not do what the others expect him to do, he will not pull the trigger: he will do a lot more. He will be conscious of his mistakes, aware that violence only generates violence and find an alternative, in order to give future generations the chance to finally live in peace. Clint Eastwood might think that it’s time to bury old heroes and think about the past, in a fruitful way.
Gran torino is a film with delicate balances not only as regards the contents: the linguistic choices are of vital importance for the characters of this story, that emphasises differences in people’s social backgrounds, age. The Italian dialogues and dubbing often risk flattening these differences in favour of standard Italian. Not that these aspects were not taken care of in Gran Torino, but actors are bound to a rather traditional way of acting. So is the Italian audience most probably. Nevertheless, there are attempts to maintain those differences among the characters that made the film more “alive” and contributed to the greater involvement of the Italian audience.
Of course, it is impossible to maintain all the accents in the Italian version (the Mexicans, Hymongs, blacks or Irish). The only attempt made was for the Italian-American barber dubbed by Stefano De Sando who has an accent from South Italy. From this point of view, the original dialogues are very helpful, due to the fact that the origins of a charatcer are never to be simply implied. A lot more work was put into the language, with excellent results. Let’s just consider the dialogues among the members of the Hymong gang or among the black guys who are bothering Sue, full of fuck/fucking; motherfucker, ass, man, yo, that are dubbed by using a vulgar and rough language without using dubbese sich as fottuto for fuck/fucking and amico for man, but by using vulgar expressions that are used in everyday language, replacing man with dai, very common among young people. Some grammar mistakes here and there complete it. Walt is characterized by an old fashioned language, far from the language used by the new generations: we hear him say things like “ti sei appena laccata le unghie”, “bulli”, “predicozzo”, “baciapile”, “quelli della sua stirpe” and, referring to Gran Torino, “non è una chicca?”. Whereas his niece says “auto fica”, “quel fichissimo divano storico che hai nella tua tana”, “io a mobili sto a zero”, etc.
Other convincing lexical solutions regard the way to render the politically incorrect attitude (purposely over the top) of Walt towards the Hymongs, who he insults calling them “sipper head”, “chink”, “gook”, all offensive words invented by American soldiers to refer to Asians. In the Italian version these insults are rendered with the classic “muso giallo” (used a lot in the dubbing of old American war films, recalling the exact context of reference). The softer offences directed to Thao, the Hymong boy who becomes Walt’s friend, made people laugh in the cinema: “egg roll” and “puss cake” are dubbed as “riso lesso” and “panna smontata” (literally, egg roll refers to a spring roll and puss cake to a cream cake). Excellent solution also for the pun on words of the name Thao, that Walt always turns into toad; in Italian it becomes tordo that is perfect because similar to the original and because it gives the idea of the scarce consideration that Walt has for Thao. From another friendly exchange of insults, between Walt and the barber, we have a funny impastapizze (to render wop dago, very offensive word to refer to Italian immigrants).
The solution for the three stooges is very funny, a very culture specific reference to be maintained (they are a comical trio within the slapstick comedy). Although in Italy they are known as the tre marmittoni, only few people would have understood the reference: the dubbers then opted for i tre porcellini that fits in fine.
Once again though dialogue writers were tricked by call me Walt/mi chiami Walt, which actually means let’s not be formal. In English it works because there is no distinction between tu and lei, but in Italian it has no sense. I don’t understand why they kept Mr Kowalski and not Signor Kowalski.in the Italian version.
Not much to say about the dubbing direction: Michele Kalamera dubbed Eastwood in many films and does a good job, with attention to every breath, pause, tremor or bark of Walt’s (he was awared the prize as best dubbing actor – ex aequo Massimo Rossi- at the international gran prix of dubbing in 2009). Jacopo Bonanni dubbed Thao/Bee Vang well, with the voice of a dork while the funny Sue/Ahney was dubbed by Valentina Mari. As regards those who are not main characters, Gianfranco Miranda seems even more suitable for father Janovich (a naïve 27 year old vergin) than Christopher Carley. Stefano De Filippis went a little bit over the top dubbing the thug Smokie/Sonny Vue while Davide Perino has a voice that is too clean and clear when acting Spider/Doua Moua.
Finally, I think they did an excellent job.
[original review in Italian by Giuliana Sana]