The Interview

Interviewer: Which film are you writing about: The Interview (2014) or The Interview (2013) or The Interview (1999) or The Interview (1998) or The Interview (1995)?

Bob: I’ve only seen the Seth Rogen-James Franco 2014 film and The Australian, Hugo Weaving-starring 1998 film. I intended to speak about the Australian one.

Interviewer: Hugo Weaving. He was Mr. Smith in The Matrix (1999).

Bob: And V in V for Vendetta (2005). But we barely see his face in the film.

Interviewer: Don’t forget Elrond in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Bob: I’ve tried to.

Interviewer: Not a fan, I gather. One of the most popular series of films in the history of cinema. You see any of them?

Bob: Yes, all of them. Six films and I couldn’t tell you what happened in what film. I remember Christopher Lee in a couple of them. Elijah Wood and Ian Holm. I think I pulled for the dark forces to win.

Interviewer: Why did you go?

Bob: My wife is a fan of the books. She had to see them.

Interviewer: Did you read the books?

Bob: No interest. (Pause.) She wanted to see all the Harry Potter films as well. Again, I can’t separate the action in the respective films. I’ve no interest in magic or kids practicing it.

Interviewer: In a sense, you have forgotten Elrond.

Bob: I liked Seth Rogen’s The Interview. Remember all the trouble swirling around it. They weren’t going to show it. The hacking. The extortion. Sony ought to put it in theaters now, as were on the brink of the North Korean apocalypse.

Interviewer: What about the Australian Interview? What’s your interest?

Bob: I had seen it several years ago and watched it on Netflix streaming the other day. The film stuck with me, in part, because it was one the first films in English that I watched with English subtitles.

Interviewer: How redundant? Do you have a hearing problem?

Bob: They were speaking Aussie.

Interviewer: This wasn’t the first Australian film you’ve watched.

Bob: No. Not that the Mad Max movies, especially the non-Mel Gibson characters, were easy to understand. I didn’t have trouble with Peter Weir’s The Last Wave (1977), but that starred an American, Richard Chamberlain.

Interviewer: What about the aborigines?

Bob: No worse. Werner Herzog’s Where the Green Ants Dream (1984) didn’t present many problems. It had the same actor, Bruce Spence, who’s also in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and, by the way, one of the tallest actors, being over 6’6’’.

Interviewer: Any other films present problems understanding ‘Aussie’?

Bob: Three stand out. The Hard Word (2002), with Guy Pearce, was particularly difficult. Three brother trying to rob a bank. Strong Aussie accentuation. Topping it off is (taken from the IMDb trivia):

The film’s title ‘The Hard Word’ is a reference to the type of Aussie slang (Cant or Cryptolect language) the films main protagonists use when they would communicate with one another in prison or “on the job”. This language is known as Retchab Klat (Rech-tub kay-lat) ‘Butcher Talk’. Words spelt backwards with digraphs and plurals kept intact. It was developed as a form of communicating between butchers to either ogle or make fun of certain customers and not draw attention. It is an old time butchers language that is still used in some small country Australian towns to this day.

Interviewer: That’s a mouthful.

Bob: My favorites are a pair of films from Bruce Beresford, best known for Breaker Morant (1979), Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and Black Robe (1991). Early in his career he made The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972) and Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974). They revel in the lowest common Aussie denominator. None too subtle body humor, machismo, and massive drinking of Fosters beer.

Interviewer: Shrimp on the Barbie stuff.

Bob: Yes.

Interviewer: And you needed English subtitles.

Bob: Desperately.

Interviewer: How about United Kingdom and Ireland films.

Bob: Especially Scotland and Manchester. (Pause.) But the thing is, I use English subtitles for nearly all English-speaking films and television shows.

Interviewer: That seems, well, pathetic.

Bob: Not as bad as colorizing black-and-white films. It’s helpful. For example, the film from my previous blog, The Shout (1978), had characters who spoke in low tones often (a complaint some reviewers latched onto in an effort to denigrate the film), and subtitles were enlightening.

Interviewer: Well, we’ve gotten to the end of our conversation and you barely said anything about The Interview.

Bob: I liked it very much.

Interviewer: Thanks for your time.


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