Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I Love Criterion

Criterion, makers of the best DVDs around, has an edition of Kurosawa's masterpiece, Ran, coming out this fall. Note that when it comes out, it will be the third DVD release of this movie. Yes, I already own the other two, both of which are plagued, to a greater or lesser degree, by problems in the subtitles. Mostly some typos, but there's one other thing that has bugged me about them...

So I recently submitted a comment to Criterion through their website:
Comment: Please tell me that in the subtitles for the upcoming Ran DVD, you'll get the "My...Lord" gag right.

Here's what I mean: In the scene between Kaede and Jiro, after she has seduced him, where he's getting dressed in the background and she's laying down, she starts out by saying (in Japanese) "No-... Tono?" With a significant pause between them. This translates as "My... Lord?", "tono" being the Japanese word for "lord", and "no-" being a prefix meaning "mine".

The way she says it, with that pause, it is as if she is unsure what their relationship is, now that they have made love. "My...Lord?" or "My...Lover?", "My...Husband?" (or, given Kaede's nature, as if she is *pretending* to be unsure...).

The only version I've seen that subtitled that line in a way that preserved that hesitation was an old VHS release. There, it was translated with "My..." on one subtitle, and "...Lord?" on a separate subtitle a moment later. Both DVD releases up to now have just rendered it as "My lord?" which, while technically correct, utterly fails to convey the significance of the line.

I'm just hoping I can count on Criterion to finally get it right.

I just recieved the following response (after an earlier preliminary note that the rep had forwarded the question to the folks working on the subtitles):
Dear Scott,

Our DVD of RAN will include the ellipsis in question.

November 22 seems to be the release date. I can't wait.


Chameleon said...

I completely agree on the subject of Criterion releases beating the pants off the rest - the Brazil set is truly magnificent.
Thanks for the info on Ran :)

Salvius said...

Now that I have a widescreen TV, I just wish they'd re-issue the Brazil set with an anamorphic transfer. Their FAQ or something somewhere on the website says they're considering anamorphic re-issues of some of their earlier releases, though when I asked a while back, they said they don't currently have any plans to re-issue Brazil specifically.