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 Post subject: 570 Zazie dans le métro
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:53 am 
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Zazie dans le métro

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A brash and precocious eleven-year-old (Catherine Demongeot) comes to Paris for a whirlwind weekend with her rakish uncle (Philippe Noiret); he and the viewer get more than they bargained for in this anarchic comedy from Louis Malle, which treats the City of Light as though it were a pleasure island just waiting to be destroyed. Based on a popular novel by Raymond Queneau that had been considered unadaptable, Malle’s audacious hit Zazie dans le métro is a bit of stream-of-conscious slapstick, wall-to-wall with visual gags, editing tricks, and effects, and made with flair on the cusp of the French New Wave.

Disc Features

- New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Archival interviews with director Louis Malle, novelist Raymond Queneau, and the young actress Catherine Demongeot
- Le Paris de Zazie, an interview with assistant director Philippe Collin
- Original theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A new essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:58 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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They sat on this for as long as I've been posting here and this is all they came up with? Special Edition, mon cul!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Tell me about it! The touring Malle retrospective was nearly six years ago, and this was the title I was looking forward to the most. This is one of Malle's very best films. The way that he channels Queneau's prose into a cinematic vocabulary makes for one of the great literary adaptations. Such a missed boat!


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 Post subject: Zazie
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:25 pm 
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For all Criterion's love of Malle, they tend to put out pretty features-light discs for him- outside of The Immigrant on the Au Revoir Disc and Crazeologie on Elevator to the Gallows, it seems like interviews are pretty much all they ever put in. They're up to sixteen of his movies without a single commentary.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:46 pm 
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beaver


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:20 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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God, any of those little menu sketches would have been better than that abomination of a cover. I had actually managed to forget how hideous it was!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:25 am 
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Does anyone know anything about the crazy space bus in the movie? Would be great to get manufacturer + model number or even a link to pictures of it. Would love to buy one and use it for tourists in Copenhagen - will be a guaranteed hit.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:21 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Have any of our native French speakers watched Criterion's edition of this film yet? I revisited it for the nth time yesterday and noticed with my very rudimentary French several harsher swear words that Criterion opted not to translate, most notably "merde" multiple times. The harshest curse Criterion gives us is "asshole" in Zazie's spiel about her abusive father, and while I know much of Zazie et al's swearing is of the more gentle "crap" variety, it's hard not to notice the selective translations offered here. Even the essay Criterion commissioned agrees this isn't a film for kids, but for what other reason would Criterion be whitewashing some of these words?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:20 pm
domino harvey wrote:
Have any of our native French speakers watched Criterion's edition of this film yet? I revisited it for the nth time yesterday and noticed with my very rudimentary French several harsher swear words that Criterion opted not to translate, most notably "merde" multiple times. The harshest curse Criterion gives us is "asshole" in Zazie's spiel about her abusive father, and while I know much of Zazie et al's swearing is of the more gentle "crap" variety, it's hard not to notice the selective translations offered here. Even the essay Criterion commissioned agrees this isn't a film for kids, but for what other reason would Criterion be whitewashing some of these words?

I'm a native French speaker so I don't watch my french films with English subs :wink:

Swearing is swearing you can't translate word by word an generally you can say its swearing by the tone so I don't see the need to find an English equivalent to it... For example "cunt" is extremely vulgar here but here in Quebec I can here "t'es con" (you're a cunt(a con is a cunt)) from a mother to his 10 year old son in an all age TV show... You just can't translate swearing IMO.

I wonder how you could translate "mange un char de marde" (eat a car of shit)... (QC)

Its like watching Naked dubbed or even with french subs; its looses all his charm...

(Edited with correct words thanks to Michael Kerpan to point out my translating mistakes)


Last edited by Hail_Cesar on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:03 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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On another note, concerning an earlier comment about the ghastly cover art
domino harvey wrote:
thatobscurecharm wrote:
Zazie looks like a cross between Amelie and Alfred E. Neuman!

Omgggg can never unsee Alfred E now

I never noticed until last night that Alfred E Neuman is actually in Zazie dans le metro-- One of the revolving series of background players, the man in black with the shaved head, is reading a copy of Mad Magazine outside of Annie Fratellini's cafe!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:27 am 
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Discussion on the translation of obscenities continued here.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:28 pm 
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I'm kind of ambivalent about this film - humour is notoriously tricky to translate and many of the events of this film (apart from the many celebrated chase sequences) left me rather cold and ultimately exhausted by the frantic antics on display. I was interested though to compare the 'American subtitles' with the 'English' ones from an old television screening. Zazie utters a lot more "Bloody hells" in that version! I can kind of relate better to the English subtitles, especially since I find the use of the word "sod" funny in general anyway!

domino wrote:
The harshest curse Criterion gives us is "asshole" in Zazie's spiel about her abusive father, and while I know much of Zazie et al's swearing is of the more gentle "crap" variety, it's hard not to notice the selective translations offered here


The opening sequence of the Uncle in the train station complaining about the odour of the general public gets interestingly interpreted. Criterion's translation at the start is "Holifart whatastink!" and the end of that short scene is rather limply translated as "...Still, what a stench!", while the English translation is "Why'dtheypongso?" followed by "...Still, wotawhiff!"

And the translation of 'cons' issue also comes up in the English subtitles in the early exchange inside the taxi:

Uncle: "Why don't you ask someone?"; Charles, the driver: "They're all pricks"; Zazie, interjecting: "That's very true" (The Criterion translation of 'cons' in that section is: "They're all morons")

And this scene then ends with the "Akshually, sometimes it's on porpoise, sometimes not" line similar to the Criterion but which in the English version continues with Zazie shouting "Don't take the mickey out of me, you two old pricks!" (The Criterion's translation is the slightly softer "Pull my leg will ya? You're two old farts!")

I also prefer Zazie's line at the end of that scene: "Napoleon my arse! A silly bugger in a poncy hat!" (The Criterion's is "That dumb cluck and his stupid hat"!)

The young child sat amongst the merchandise in a flea market stall is better, and more cruelly translated, in the Criterion version however with the sign he is wearing saying "Secondhand" (In the English subtitled version it is more simply: "Bargain"!). Plus bizarrely while Zazie refers to her father as an "asshole" in the Criterion, as domino notes, the English version just has her saying he is a "twit"! Which I think is better in a way as it lends a sense of disappointed anger at the remembrances of the father rather than a more simple hatred to Zazie's recollection.

The more the film goes on, the more I think it is a wacky, unruly companion to the highly controlled Playtime (or even Trafic in the car sequences!), prefiguring that film in the way it shows a city from an outsider's eye view and featuring a similar climax with anarchy followed by a bittersweet departure. I prefer Playtime more (it seems as if it likes its characters better, even when they are dwarfed by the sets) but I get the sense that Zazie may also grow on me with a couple more repeat viewings. I also casually wondered whether the end of Zazie, with the destruction of the sets during a big brawl, could have had any influence on the end of Blazing Saddles too!

One of the things that I really like about the film is that normally films dealing with precocious children often end up with the child who is supposed to be lovable and witty instead becoming unbearably annoying or even borderline psychopathic (I'm thinking of films along the line of Home Alone or Curly Sue)! Zazie here comes close but always feels as if she is behaving like a child (albeit a very headstrong one!), not an adult filtering their sensibility through a child. Even more importantly the film makes Zazie appear more sympathetic by making the adults far more badly behaved than she is (apart from the sexy, surrogate mother figure of Albertine). She also gets pushed into the role of amused, or bemused, spectator at many points, including being almost comatose during the final anarchical section, as if her annoyance at the Metro being on strike sets off all these other characters into their wild performances and she is left to watch their reactions.

It also perhaps gets towards a deeper truth of adults being nothing more than overgrown children, albeit ones who can destroy the fabric of society if they go off the rails, or follow their obsessions too blindly! Zazie's final line when asked by her mother what she did over the weekend - "I grew up" (In the English version it is the more ambiguous "I've aged") - perhaps is not just dismissive of her experiences but also a way of acknowledging that she is not perhaps as far removed from the silly adults as she may have once felt herself to be.

Anyway, I suppose the character I most identify with in the film is the guy in the polar bear suit - on the sidelines as much as Zazie during the final sequences and perhaps not quite as crazy as the rest, instead just going with the flow of events. Yet having said that, he's still the only person dressed as a polar bear!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:19 am 
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This film caught me by surprise, and it may be my favorite Louis Malle picture. I've always respected Malle more than I've liked his films - Atlantic City and to a lesser extent My Dinner with Andre are the only ones that really stuck with me in the past - but Zazie was surprisingly atypical and delirious fun.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:00 am 
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I was completely giddy after viewing this last night and I couldn't sleep. John Cleese must surely have been influenced by this for Fawlty Towers. This morning my 4 year old is laughing heartily to various scenes, but we must skip the destruction towards the end.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:37 pm 
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colinr0380 wrote:
The opening sequence of the Uncle in the train station complaining about the odour of the general public gets interestingly interpreted. Criterion's translation at the start is "Holifart whatastink!" and the end of that short scene is rather limply translated as "...Still, what a stench!", while the English translation is "Why'dtheypongso?" followed by "...Still, wotawhiff!"

Both translations seem to be rendered in explicit tribute to the novel's celebrated opening word, "Doukipudonktan", which stretches out to "D'où qu'ils puent donc tant?".

Quote:
I also prefer Zazie's line at the end of that scene: "Napoleon my arse! A silly bugger in a poncy hat!" (The Criterion's is "That dumb cluck and his stupid hat!")

I don't have my copy of the novel immediately to hand, but "Napoléon mon cul" is most definitely uttered within it (And, I daresay, on the film's soundtrack).


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:57 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
I never noticed until last night that Alfred E Neuman is actually in Zazie dans le metro-- One of the revolving series of background players, the man in black with the shaved head, is reading a copy of Mad Magazine outside of Annie Fratellini's cafe!

No doubt a likely contribution from William Klein. Quite appropriate. After all, the movie is nothing but chicken fat. Which is why I echo Colin's ambivalence. Off the top of my head its hard to think of another ninety-minute movie as exhausting as this one. The kid in the movie throws things against the wall frequently. Unfortunately, craftmanship-wise it feels like Malle is doing the same. He may have been sticking close to the source material but the end results feel more dashed off for its own sake rather than something fully fleshed out. I think Black Moon is a better example of a successful change of pace for Malle.


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