Saturday, July 23, 2011

Subtitles and visually impaired viewers

I never thought I would have to write this - it's a bad idea to take a visually handicapped person to see a movie with subtitles. And now we can laugh at the scene when a friend took her mother to see the movie about Edith Piaf.

The movie was almost entirely in French with English subtitles. Her mother who knows no French, caught some of the movie action, but none of the subtitles. And this was the scene as described to me.

"What are they doing now?" and in between reading the subtitles, there was a rapid description of the action on the scene.

"What? I can't hear you." Then was a disclaimer of talking as loud as possible but not wanting to disturb the other patrons.

"Why did they say that?" Then followed a brief summary of the actions up to that point.

"What's happening now?" And these events repeated and repeated throughout the length of the movie.

My friend still does not see the humor in this. But she does admit that attending the Edith Piaf movie was a better experience than the time she went with both her parents and she sat in the middle, between them.

The first complaint was that they were sitting too close to the screen and the faces were blurry. Of course, her mother chose the seats. And then her parents talked to each other, over her, the entire time. She says that she is still not sure what the movie was about because she kept shushing her parents. They were talking so loud that they disturbed the other movie goers whose complaints were ignored. She marvels that they were not thrown out.

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