August 17th, 2018

(no subject)

The Isle of Dogs’ story line is rather on the primitive side (perhaps to appeal to the kids, I don't know); but what they did with the language in that film is absolutely brilliant. The focus is on the animals; so they speak an understandable language, English. Humans, whose language animals wouldn’t understand, speak Japanese. The parts of the human communication that the audience needs to follow are overtly translated — either by puppet interpreters or via various subtitles or newspaper clippings. Other parts are designed to make the audience experience human speech as if through the ears of an animal — the incomprehensible Japanese is left untranslated, and the communicative intent is reconstructed from the intonation, gestures, or an occasional familiar English borrowing in the stream of Japanese gibberish.

The overall effect is quite magical. I can’t imagine how that might work in translation, or even for a Japanese audience — the whole illusion will fall apart.

And other than that linguistic magic, the film doesn't really have much to offer.