Since the advent of sound film, subtitling has been one of three main techniques used to translate dialogue or relevant pieces of written onscreen information, along with dubbing and voiceover. Directors sometimes get involved in the subtitling of their films (and by this I mean the subtitling of completed films, in contrast with the subtitling of multilingual films, most often planned at the stage of production). Some of them give their opinion on the translation; others may even write or co-write the subtitles, with examples as diverse as Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet (1) or Guillermo del Toro. (2) Last year, Jean-Luc Godard went one step further by writing very special English subtitles for the Cannes screening of his latest effort, Film Socialisme (2010), which afterwards toured the festival circuit with the same subtitling. In the past year, Godard’s gesture has been much commented upon, and that’s why it is worth examining both these now (in)famous subtitles and their critical reception.

Film Socialisme is a film in three parts: “Des choses comme ça” (“Things like that”), “Quo Vadis Europa” and “Nos humanités” (“Our humanities”). The dialogue is mainly in French, but ten other languages (Latin, Russian, German, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, Bambara, English and Greek) are present on the soundtrack or on title cards, most of them very briefly, and are not translated on the French prints of the film. Jean-Luc Godard would have liked to show Film Socialisme without any subtitles at the Cannes film festival, but both his French distributor Wild Bunch and the festival urged him to provide English subtitles. He agreed, provided that he could make them “his way” – a request that was met favourably. There wasn’t much hesitation from Wild Bunch since “the film was already experimental as it was.” Godard then asked Lenny Borger and Cynthia Schoch, who did the English subtitles for his two previous features, Éloge de l’amour (2001) and Notre Musique (2004), to translate the French dialogue entirely, without telling them why. He took this English text as the basis for what he called the “Navajo, Comanche, Cheyenne (etc.) English translation.” (3) With a marker pen, he crossed out the words that did not interest him and left only those which seemed especially meaningful to him, before rearranging them, as will be described below. Some portions of dialogue were left entirely untranslated. Finally, the subtitles were inserted using subtitling software. This is the opposite of the “normal” way: nowadays, subtitles are first “timed.” Then comes the translation itself and finally, what is called a “simulation”, i.e. a final check. (4) In the case of Film Socialisme, the spotting came last (during the simulation) and is deliberately inaccurate: subtitles sometimes start before or after a character speaks.

A story published before the premiere of the film announced that this would be “as in old Westerns where the Native Americans spoke in choppy phrases”, (5) that is to say, what one critic has dubbed “Hollywood Injun English.” (6) As always with Godard, things are not to be taken at face value. These seemingly “simple” subtitles are not in pidgin English or “Tonto speech”: it is more complex than that. Here are some patterns that stand out:

– All subtitles are composed of a single line, with one to five words per subtitle.
– Subtitles are mostly composed of two (40.7% of total) or three words (49% of total).
– There are wide spaces between the words, which are generally written in lower case, with the exception of proper nouns.
– There is no punctuation anywhere in the subtitles. These two elements mean that it is very hard to know when one sentence begins or ends, and whether it is affirmative, interrogative, etc.
– Verbs are (almost) never conjugated (tenses have to be guessed at).
– There are (almost) no pronouns or articles.
– Two or three words are sometimes aggregated to form a single word. Here are a few examples (by category).

no + (noun): nochoice, nocrimes, noblood, noGod.
Conjugated verbs: donot, deniesit.
Two nouns: civilwar.
Sentences: wariswar, heworkedfor, iam.

With all of these elements combined, it is unquestionably very hard to understand the French dialogue of the film. From a subtitler’s point of view, the “Navajo English” subtitles can’t be deemed as satisfying in terms of quality.

***

“Do you know why the white men killed all the Indians? Because the Indians didn’t say, ‘I don’t understand.’ They said, ‘Me no understand.’ So the white men killed them, not because they didn’t understand, but because they didn’t say it right. That’s all.” (7)
Passion (Jean-Luc Godard, 1982)

What could have led Godard to create these subtitles? First, I would argue that he was deeply affected by Henri Langlois’ habit of showing unsubtitled films. Langlois claimed in 1972 that “by showing films without subtitles, [he] forced people to look” and that “if the Cinémathèque Française played a major role in the creation of the Nouvelle Vague, it is because [it] didn’t have money to subtitle prints.” (8) Even so, early subtitles were very fragmentary: according to Bernard Eisenschitz, “in the early French prints of Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933), there are only two or three subtitles per scene. They don’t translate the dialogue, they sum up the meaning of each scene in dialogue form, just like an intertitle.” (9)

Over the years, Godard’s interest for language and translation led him to experiment in his films with both notions. In Le Mépris (Contempt, 1963),based on Alberto Moravia’s novel, he added the character of Francesca Vanini, who “simultaneously translates conversations involving two, three or four characters into two, three or four languages” and does it “on her own initiative, self-evidently, without even being asked to do so.” (10) Characters in the short film “L’amore” (1967) have no trouble understanding each other although they speak in their respective languages, Italian or French. Languages other than French are very present in Godard’s films, but only two of them have “regular” subtitles: À bout de souffle (Breathless, 1959), his debut (one sequence of subtitled English dialogue), and Notre Musique, his second-to-last feature (three sequences of subtitled dialogue in English, Arabic and Hebrew).

Godard’s play with subtitles was foreshadowed by remarks made some years earlier. In a 2004 interview, he already regretted that the Cannes festival forced him to show Notre Musique with “normal” English subtitles: “Since there were lots of different languages”, he said, “the film should be subtitled into the American English of a Pakistani cab-driver.” (11) As for the choice of the “Navajo” name, it is hard not to think precisely of Notre Musique, where Native Americans appear as ghostly figures and notably recite the poem “Speech of the Red Indian” by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (playing himself in the film). As early as 1982, in a conversation with Gilles Deleuze, Elias Sanbar – who is credited as “Memoir” in Notre Musique and plays himself in Film Socialisme – drew a parallel between the oppression of Palestinians and the persecution of Native Americans, an idea Godard avowedly used in Notre Musique. (12) More obviously, a clip from John Ford’s Cheyenne Autumn (1964) is included in Film Socialisme.

But Notre Musique also raises interesting questions about translation and subtitling. Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo, playing himself, speaks in his own language, but his words are only translated into French when the character of the interpreter (played by Rony Kramer) is nearby, as in Le Mépris. When the Native Americans recite Darwish’s poem (in English), French subtitles are provided, which is also the case in the last sequence of the film, with the US Marines’ anthem. But a third instance of subtitling seemed more problematic to Godard, as was recently revealed in an interview with his old friend Jean Narboni, (13) and provides a valuable insight into the director’s views on subtitling. In the film, when Israeli journalist Judith Lerner (Sarah Adler) interviews Darwish, she speaks in Hebrew and he replies in Arabic. Says Godard: “He understood her, because [he] speaks Arabic and understands Hebrew, but she did not understand, because she doesn’t speak Arabic – but she is a good actor.” (14) Their dialogue is subtitled, but Godard explained to Narboni that “what I regret at that point is the obligation to subtitle [the scene] for the viewers. It is a completely paradoxical situation: here are two individuals who don’t speak the same language, or who do speak the same language, or who understand each other, and who, in another way, don’t understand each other – since behind Darwish, we can see ‘Palestine’, and behind Sarah [Adler], we can see ‘Israel.’ (…) It’s a complete paradox for the viewers: they speak neither language, but because of the subtitles, they can follow the conversation and feel comfortable. After that sequence, they can talk about Israel and Palestine, whereas, had there not been any subtitles, they could only have said: ‘I don’t know what they said to each other.’ Now they don’t say that, but they can also say: ‘I know what they said to each other, and here’s what I think of it.’” Faced with Narboni’s remark that, according to him, “there was no other filmic solution than subtitling”, Godard adds that “I thought about leaving [the sequence] as it was… As the film was quite short, I considered showing the same sequence again, but subtitled. And the production manager [Jean-Pierre Battagia] and Anne-Marie [Miéville] told me: ‘No, this, man tut es nicht.’ This can’t be done.”

Finally, in two earlier films, Godard experimented with subtitles. In Vivre sa vie (1962), they provide the dialogue to a completely silent sequence,and in a scene from Une femme mariée (A Married Woman, 1965), an almost inaudible conversation is summed up in subtitles – by this, I mean intralingual subtitling, from French to French. This distinction aside, it is difficult not to see this process as a precursor to Film Socialisme’s subtitles. (15)

***

Godard’s subtitles for Film Socialisme premiered at Cannes on May 18, 2010. What is striking in the reviews published in the English-speaking media is that almost all of them mention the “Navajo English” subtitles. They even appear in some headlines, as for example “Even the Subtitles Are Inscrutably Avant-Garde in Godard’s Cannes Film” or “Film Socialisme: Subtitles as sparse as the film itself.” (16) This is in keeping with the general attitude to subtitles: as they are supposed to be “invisible”, they are only mentioned when commentators find something unusual or “wrong” about them. This dates back to the early days of subtitling, from the 1930s – see, for example, “Les bousilleurs de sous-titres” (“The subtitle botchers”), a 1936 article by Jean-Georges Auriol. (17) Some critics sensed something unusual and wrong in Godard’s subtitles, which were described as “a kind of semiotic sloganeering”, (18) “wilfully perverse”, (19) “mischievous” (20) or “keyword tags to a blog post”, (21) generally in pans of the film. The subtitles, one critic even wrote recently, “add to the sensation that we’re trapped in brainwashing sequences of A Clockwork Orange and The Parallax View.” (22) Critics were also angered by Godard’s no-show in Cannes, which they linked with the final shot, a “No Comment” title card. Since the subtitles are in English, some critics sensed “contempt” (pun generally intended) in Godard’s decision and took it personally by suggesting that the director is “raising two fingers to the Anglophone world.” (23) Admittedly, Godard himself often expressed his distrust of English as a dominant, hegemonic language, most recently by saying that

this Europe simply doesn’t interest me. When I was little, ticket collectors in trains spoke four languages. Today, they speak only one and it’s English, of all things. Languages disappear, just like other things. (…) There is no debate left when everybody only speaks in English. There is no contradiction left.” (24)

However, English-speaking critics who felt offended by Godard tend to forget that most film festivals show English-subtitled prints, which means that in Cannes, viewers not fluent in French also had to rely on the English subtitles. I found reviews coming from Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, etc., some of them praising the subtitling. (25) Conversely, the “Navajo English” subtitles went almost unnoticed by French critics, with only a couple of exceptions. (26) French articles focused on other events surrounding the Cannes screening: Godard’s refusal to come to the festival, the film’s surprising speeded-up trailers (27) and the uproar caused by Film Socialisme’s early availability on Wild Bunch’s pay-per-view website. (28)

Some critics described the subtitles as “works of art in themselves”, (29) “a major experiment” (30) or as “a fascinating novelty (…) a brilliant technique that actually focuses us on the essentials and is a lot easier for overwhelmed viewers to negotiate.” (31) Others were more cautious in their appraisal of the film. Manohla Dargis, writing for The New York Times, confessed that “clearly, it will take many more viewings of Film Socialisme, an improvement in my French and many more fully translated subtitles before I can begin to get a tentative grasp on it”, (32) while filmjourney.org’s Robert Koehler wrote “If I’m able to see the film again before leaving Cannes, I’ll provide examples [of subtitles]–impossible on a single viewing.” (33) At this point, it is important to stress the fact that the “Navajo English” subtitles were often misdescribed or misquoted in reviews, including very recent ones, and that the information given above about their conception came from interviews I had with translator Cynthia Schoch and with Charles Vannier, who works for Film Socialisme’s French distributor. (34) The critics’ perplexity is of course understandable, given the fact that Film Socialisme, even for French viewers, isa “difficult” film. Godard himself claims that “all of the films [he’s] done in the last ten years are supposed to be seen three times in order to be understood (…), simply in order to grasp both lands and their frontiers: the land of Sound, the land of Image, and their interaction.” (35) Dave Kehr concurs by suggesting that “it’s mostly from [Samuel] Fuller (…) that Godard acquired the central premise of his work: that a film is not a closed, perfect, self-contained object, but something necessarily open, messy and incomplete, successful to the extent that its unfinished, imperfect quality engages and challenges a viewer.” (36)

As “imperfect” as Film Socialisme’s subtitles seemed to some viewers, they were hailed as “poetic” by others. (37) This, I think, points at one of the most interesting aspects of Godard’s action here: to underline the literary aspect of subtitling. Godard’s lifelong dream was to publish a novel; he didn’t succeed in doing so, but Gallimard published his Histoire(s) du Cinéma books in 1998 and six books of “phrases” were also published in France by P.O.L. between 1996 and 2001. Godard’s publisher Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens notes that “it was a real work of versification, which did not duplicate the film but which dialogued with it, in a sort of poetic echo” (38) and Jan Baetens gives a good description of the books: “All the dialogues from the film are pasted together without almost any graphic embellishment: no dash, no stage direction, no mention of the characters, no play with the fonts, (…) no change of size, no indentation, no other visual effect than, sometimes, a page break or a few blank lines”, before adding that “it’s undeniably the poetics of free verse – more precisely, the ‘classic’ conception of free verse à la Cendrars: an idea per line, a line per idea.” (39) One may easily find echoes between this description and Film Socialisme’s “Navajo English” subtitles. It is also worth noting that although Notre Musique was not published as a book, (40) Film Socialisme was, and with a certain number of changes made to the earlier format: the book is larger; the font used is different; the subtitle is now “Dialogues avec visages auteurs” (“Dialogues with faces authors”) instead of “Phrases”; quotations from outside sources are accompanied by pictures (photographs or paintings) of the authors quoted, instead of a list at the end of the book; punctuation is now slightly more present in the form of (rare) commas, full stops, exclamation and interrogation marks (although not always there when needed); and finally, a dictionary definition of the word sentence on the back cover has been replaced by a quotation from Stendhal (“Dialogue, foutre !”/” “Dialogue, fuck!”).

It is quite obvious that Film Socialisme is not the same film if one understands French, English, or both languages. (41) But isn’t it the case, arguably to a lesser extent, when one watches any foreign film with subtitles? I think that if Godard took the principle of reduction inherent to subtitling to an extreme (and added other peculiarities of his own), it is, among other things, to show how relative it is to try and assess a film without acknowledging the inevitable changes in perception caused by subtitling.

It is not generally not known, even in France, that in this country, all subtitlers are considered authors. In Godard’s case, this was made clear with regard to the “Navajo English” subtitles, as can be read on the back cover of the French DVD of Film Socialisme: “Sous-titres d’auteur: Navajo.” (Here, the fabricated expression “Sous-titres d’auteur” echoes with “film d’auteur”, which roughly translates as “arthouse film.”) This is quite ironic considering Godard’s ambiguous positions in relation both the politique des auteurs (according to him, the important and overlooked word in that expression was “politique”) and the French conception of droit d’auteur (“An author should have duties, not rights”, as he repeatedly stated). In any case, Wild Bunch’s arrangement with the director was that any film festival asking for a print of the film would be provided with the “Navajo English” subtitles: none of those who asked declined the offer. This arrangement does not extend to theatrical releases, which means that distributors can very well show the film with “regular” subtitles. (42) However, so far, Film Socialisme has been released in Canada, in the USA and in the United Kingdom with the “Navajo English” subtitles. I think this choice can be explained both by financial reasons and reasons linked to Godard’s “aura”, since he is identified as the author of these subtitles.

Prior to the British release of the film, New Wave Films posted the following message on its Facebook page (with a link to a .pdf file.) (43): “Here’s the Dialogue list and full English translation for Film Socialisme. It will be released in cinemas on July 8 with the ‘Navajo’ titles which add yet another dimension to the film, but if you want to do your homework before or after seeing it, the translation should help. The DVD will be released with a choice of English or Navajo titles.” (44) What is described as “the Dialogue list and full English translation for Film Socialisme” is actually the translation, done by Lenny Borger and Cynthia Schoch, of the sole French dialogue of the film, although this incorrect information was taken up by some journalists. (45) In a private email, Robert Beeson (New Wave Films) gave some details about the upcoming DVD subtitles, by writing that “the bulk of the translation was done already by Lenny Borger for the production. We have added a few extra titles where other languages had not been translated and we thought the dialogue significant (German, Arabic, Russian, etc).” (46) The British DVD will then include the first official “full” English subtitles of Film Socialisme – arguably, even “fuller” than they should be, since translating languages other than French is not entirely in keeping with Godard’s rationale.

***

In an authoritative filmography of the director published in 2006, there are two entries for the film King Lear (1987). it was shot in English, but Godard thought it was “impossible to subtitle” and recorded a simultaneous translation/commentary when it was broadcast on Swiss television in December 1989, which, according to the authors of the filmography, “constitutes another version of the film.” (47) If this document is updated, Film Socialisme’s subtitled version would undoubtedly warrant an extra entry.

An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2011 NECS conference “Sonic Futures: Soundscapes and the Languages of Screen Media” (London, June 23-26 2011). My thanks to the participants of the panel “The politics of sub-titling” for their comments and to Nolwenn Mingant, who chaired the panel.

I would also like to thank the following persons for their help: Isabelle Audinot, Eva Bacelar, Robert Beeson (New Wave Films), Pascale Bodet, Lenny Borger, Michelle Carey, Bernard Eisenschitz, Aurélia Georges, Cynthia Schoch, Charles Vannier (Wild Bunch), Coralie Van Rietschoten, Anne-Lise Weidmann, and especially Carol O’Sullivan.

Endnotes

  1. See Barton Byg, “Film as ‘Translation’” in Landscapes of Resistance: The German Films of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), p. 199-214 and Bernard Eisenschitz, “La parole écrite : extrait des Mémoires d’un traducteur”, in Jacques Aumont (ed.),L’image et la parole (Paris: Cinémathèque Française, 1999), p. 42-43. The subtitles of several of Straub and Huillet’s films have been published in print form. For a comprehensive list, see Benoît Turquety, Danièle Huillet et Jean-Marie Straub, “objectivistes” au cinéma (Lausanne: L’Âge d’Homme, 2009), p. 541-544.
  2. See “Guillermo Del Toro – Labyrinth Director Wrote His Own Subtitles”, contactmusic.com, February 13, 2007. < http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/story/labyrinth-director-wrote-his-own-subtitles_1021894 >.
  3. Final draft of the English subtitles for Film Socialisme, p. 1.
  4. For more details about simulation, see Chloé Leleu, “Sous-titrage” (2006), ataa.fr < http://www.ataa.fr/index.php/nos-metiers/sous-titrage.html >.
  5. Arifa Akbar, “Cannes Diary: Stars lined up for BBC rom com”, The Independent, May 14, 2010. < http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/cannes-diary-stars-lined-up-for-bbc-rom-com-1973016.html >
  6. Barbra A. Meek, “And the Injun goes ‘How!’: Representations of American Indian English in white public space”, Language in Society, vol. 35, no. 1 (2006), p. 93-128.
  7. “Tu sais pourquoi les Blancs, ils ont tué tous les Indiens ? Parce que les Indiens, ils disaient pas : je comprends pas. Ils disaient : moi pas comprendre. Et alors les Blancs les ont tués, pas parce qu’ils ne comprenaient pas mais parce qu’ils ne faisaient pas bien la phrase. C’est tout. ” (All translations mine, unless noted otherwise.)
  8. “The Seventh Heaven: Henri Langlois Talks To Rui Nogueira and Nicoletta Zalaffi”, translated by Tom Milne, Sight and Sound, vol. 41, no. 4 (Autumn 1972), p. 183. Serge Bozon quotes from the same passage in his introduction to the films he chose as part of “Beaubourg, la dernière major !”, the event he co-curated with Pascale Bodet in November 2010 at the Centre Pompidou (programme booklet, p. 26). Out of the eight films selected, three (all American) were shown without subtitles, a move that was morally backed up by Langlois’ quote but was not easy at first to impose on the Centre Pompidou. However, one may wonder if these screenings would have been equally attended had the films been in languages less widely understood than English. One event leads to believe so: on November 13, 2010, director and film critic Pierre Léon introduced a screening of Edgar G. Ulmer’s Murder Is My Beat (1955), a film he had never seen… and would not see that time, since he did not understand English and the print was not subtitled.
  9. Bernard Eisenschitz, “La parole écrite”, p. 37.
  10. Jean-Luc Godard, “Scénario du Mépris”, in Jean-Luc Godard par Jean-Luc Godard, tome 1 (Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma, 1998), p. 244.
  11. Gerald Peary, “His music: Jean-Luc Godard at Cannes”, Boston Phoenix, December 31, 2004 – January 6, 2005. < http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/movies/film/documents/04361432.asp
  12. Gilles Deleuze, Elias Sanbar, “Les indiens de Palestine”, Libération, May 8-9, 1982, p. 20-21; reprinted in Gilles Deleuze, Deux régimes de fous (Paris: Minuit, 2003), p. 179-184. For more details, see James S. Williams, “Présentation” in Jean-Luc Godard Documents (Paris: Centre Pompidou, 2006), p. 406-409.
  13. “Jean-Luc Godard avec Jean Narboni”, part of the “Ensemble et séparés. Sept rendez-vous avec Jean-Luc Godard” series of extras on the Morceaux de conversations avec Jean-Luc Godard (Alain Fleischer, 2009) DVD boxset published by Éditions Montparnasse.
  14. Le Monde, May 13, 2004.
  15. For more details about this scene and about several English subtitlings of Une femme mariée, see my “Subtitling the Inaudible? Subjectivity in Audiovisual Translation”, paper given at the 3rd Media For All Conference, Antwerp, 2009 (unpublished).
  16. Logan Hill, “Even the Subtitles Are Inscrutably Avant-Garde in Godard’s Cannes Film”, New York, 18/5/2010 < http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2010/05/godards_avant-garde_cannes_ent.html >; Chris Knight, “Film Socialisme: Subtitles as sparse as the film itself”, National Post (Canada), December 29, 2010.
  17. Jean-Georges Auriol, “Les bousilleurs de sous-titres”, Pour Vous,no. 410, September 24, 1936, p. 2. Auriol (1907-1950) is mentioned by Godard in his films Histoires du cinéma, 3B : Une vague nouvelle (1998)and Deux fois cinquante ans de cinéma français (co-directed with Anne-Marie Miéville, 1995).
  18. Xan Brooks, “Cannes film festival diary: no joy in Godard”, guardian.co.uk, May 19, 2010. < http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/may/19/cannes-film-festival-godard >
  19. Ben Kenigsberg, Time Out Chicago, May 2010. Formerly available at < http://www3.timeoutny.com/chicago/blog/out-and-about/2010/05/cannes-film-festival-2010-godard-doesnt-show-for-film-socialisme/ >; reprinted at < http://mubi.com/topics/godard-missed-cannes?page=2 >.
  20. Chris Knight, “Film Socialisme: Subtitles as sparse the film itself.”
  21. Logan Hill, “Even the Subtitles Are Inscrutably Avant-Garde in Godard’s Cannes Film.”
  22. Tara Brady, “Film Socialisme”, The Irish Times, July 8, 2011. < http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/theticket/2011/0708/1224300235728.html >.
  23. Sukhdev Sandhu, “Cannes Film Festival 2010: Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme, review”, telegraph.co.uk, May 19, 2010 < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/cannes-film-festival/7740844/Cannes-Film-Festival-2010-Jean-Luc-Godards-Film-Socialisme-review.html >.
  24. “Das Kino ist heute wie eine ägyptische Mumie”, Tagesanzeiger, November 30, 2010. < http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/kultur/kino/Das-Kino-ist-heute-wie-eine-aegyptische-Mumie-/story/17930831 >
  25. Alice Furtado, “Film Socialisme”, Contracampo, no. 95 (May 2010) < http://www.contracampo.com.br/95/pgcannes05.htm >; Quim Casas, “Cannes 2010”, Dirigido por, no. 401 (June 2010), p. 44-55; Marco Grosoli, “Film Socialisme,” La furia umana, no. 5 (Summer 2010) < http://www.lafuriaumana.it/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=201:film-socialisme&catid=35:prima-linea&Itemid=63 >, “Alexander Horwath im Gespräch über ‘Film Socialisme’ von Godard und ‘Tournée’ von Mathieu Amalric”, cargo-film.de, May 18, 2010, < http://www.cargo-film.de/interview/cannes-2010-alexander-horwath-1/ >, Mariska Graveland, “Maandag 17 mei 2010”, De Filmkrant, < http://www.filmkrant.nl/av/org/filmkran/festival/cannes10/17mei2.html >.
  26. Arthur Mas, Martial Pisani, “Film Socialisme”, independencia.fr, June 1, 2010 < http://independencia.fr/indp/10_FILM_SOCIALISME_JLG.html > [published in Spanish, in an expanded version, as [Guillaume Bourgois, Jean-Louis Leutrat, Suzanne Liandrat-Guigues, Arthur Mas, Martial Pisani, Pauline Soulat], “Triple juego. Elementos para un acercamiento a Film Socialisme”, Lumière Internacional Godard, p. 31-53 < http://www.elumiere.net/lumiere_FS.html > ]; Isabelle Regnier, “Absence de Godard”, May 18, 2010 < http://cannes.blog.lemonde.fr/2010/05/18/absence-de-godard-presence-de-nadege/ > and Agnès Catherine Poirier, “Godard en anglais navajo !”, Télérama, no. 3150, May 26, 2010, p. 10.
  27. See Arthur Mas, Martial Pisani, “Explication through the trailer”, translated by Craig Keller, independencia.fr. < http://independencia.fr/INTERVENTIONS/07_MASPISANI_FILMSOCIALISME_EV.html >. About Godard’s earlier trailers, see Vinzenz Hediger, “A Cinema of Memory in the Future Sense: Godard, Trailers, and Godard Trailers”, in Michael Temple, James S. Williams, Michael Witt (eds.), For Ever Godard (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2004), p. 144-159.
  28. See Isabelle Regnier, “Jean-Luc Godard joue le virtuel avant le réel”, Le Monde, May 6, 2010, and Hélène Zylberait, “Le business de Socialisme”, Cahiers du cinéma, no. 658, July-August 2010, p. 62.
  29. Jordan Mintzer, “Film Socialisme”, Variety, May 20, 2010. < http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117942789.html?categoryid=31&cs=1 >
  30. Robert Koehler, “Cannes 2010: Day Godard”, filmjourney.org, May 22, 2010. < http://www.filmjourney.org/2010/05/22/cannes-2010-day-godard/ >
  31. Peter Brunette, “Film Socialisme”, The Hollywood Reporter, May 15, 2010. < http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film-reviews/film-socialisme-film-review-1004091838.story >
  32. Manohla Dargis, “Godard, With That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi at the Cannes Film Festival”, The New York Times, May 18, 2010, p. C5. < http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/movies/18cannes.html >
  33. Robert Koehler, “Cannes 2010: Day Godard.”
  34. “Ich werde nicht gern mit Picasso verglichen – er malte zu viele Teller”, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, November 7, 2010. < http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/kultur/aktuell/ich_werde_nicht_gern_mit_picasso_verglichen__er_malte_zu_viele_teller_1.8293071.html >
  35. Dave Kehr, “Love and Other Contradictions”, The New York Times, July 7, 2010, p. AR12. < http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/movies/homevideo/11kehr.html?_r=1 &g;
  36. Katherine Monk, “Legendary director probes modern society”, Vancouver Sun, March 11, 2011 < http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Legendary+director+probes+modern+society/4422397/story.html >; Virginia Wright Wexman, “Auteurism Ground Zero: The 2010 Cannes Film Festival”, Offscreen, vol. 14, no. 9 (September 2010) < http://www.offscreen.com/index.php/pages/essays/auteurism_ground_zero/ >.
  37. Interview with Antoine de Baecque, September 24, 2008, quoted in De Baecque, Godard (Paris: Grasset, 2010), p. 754. On that same page, De Baecque mistakenly quotes a book’s title (Allemagne 90 neuf zéro instead of Allemagne neuf zéro) and refers to another one that does not exist (The Old Place, supposedly published in 2001, from Godard and Miéville’s homonymous 1999 film).
  38. Jan Baetens, La novellisation: du film au roman (Brussels: Impressions Nouvelles, 2008), p. 212 (emphasis in original).
  39. “After Éloge de l’amour, he just sent me a note, only a sentence: ‘Sorry, I’m not interested…’” Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens, quoted in De Baecque, Godard, p. 754.
  40. Film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky noted it provocatively (or did he?) by coupling “Film Socialisme (subtitled)” with “Film Socialisme (unsubtitled)” as one of his “Fantasy Double Features of 2010” for the mubi.com website < http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/the-daily-notebooks-3rd-writers-poll-fantasy-double-features-of-2010 >.
  41. This was the case in Spain, for example, where the film was released with “regular” subtitles.
  42. http://www.newwavefilms.co.uk/assets/465/Film_Socialisme_English__subtitles_plus_dialogue.pdf
  43. New Wave Films Facebook page, July 4, 2011. < http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=250496854965190&id=148446001054 >
  44. See for example Derek Malcolm, “Film Socialisme – Review”, London Evening Standard, July 8, 2011 < http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/film/review-23968441-film-socialisme—review.do > and Jason Solomons, “Film socialisme; Last Year in Marienbad – review”, The Observer, July 10, 2011 < http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jul/10/film-socialisme-jean-luc-godard >.
  45. Robert Beeson, email to the author, August 19, 2011. Co-translator Cynthia Schoch’s name is regretfully not mentioned here.
  46. Jean-Luc Godard Documents, p. 433. The version of King Lear with Godard’s voiceover is fascinating and could very well be the subject of a separate article. Unfortunately, it is always only mentioned in passing (see for example Jean-Paul Fargier, “Le théâtre de l’instant”, Cahiers du cinéma, “Godard 30 ans depuis”, 1990, p. 80, and Jean-Luc Godard par Jean-Luc Godard, tome 2 (Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma, 1998), p. 48). King Lear eventually got a theatrical release in France in 2002, with French subtitles by Jean-François Cornu.

About The Author

Samuel Bréan is a translator living in Paris. He is a founding member of the French Association of Audiovisual Translators (ATAA) and its current secretary. He is working on a study of Jean-Luc Godard’s films with regard to translation, and especially subtitling.