Fox and His Subtitles

And now, a New Year’s Eve note from our sponsors in the annals of ludicrously-nitpicky cinephilia: 

So there I was, happily indulging in contemplating the subtle nuances of every second of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Fox and His Friends, when a few shots popped on screen in which crucial information seems to have been lost in (the) translation. Can you guess what I’m referring to:

How about: WHY DON’T THE SUBTITLES PROVIDE A TRANSLATION OF THE TEXT ON THAT POSTER IN THE BACKGROUND?!

Again, I’m aware this is as nitpicky (and as obnoxious) as a gnat, but when dealing with framers as thoughtfully precise as Fassbinder, clearly the translation of those words might bear some meaning for audiences prone to interpret every inch of the canvass. Now, I trust the judgement of the wise folks at Criterion, who must’ve deemed this text inconsequential…but why not leave that up to the audience, as Fassbinder self-evidently wished? He wouldn’t have chosen those words to be in the frame if he didn’t want them to be potentially analyzed. As such, leaving them untranslated in some way inhibits the full scope of his intended artistry.

This sentiment applies to physical media as much as to streaming as much as to theatrical releases.

A merry New Years Eve to one and all! Let’s hope the New Year brings back the return of in-person theatrical merriment…

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