Posts Tagged ‘French’

Les films français avec sous-titres français en ligne gratuit

July 16, 2017

Ensemble, c’est tout…

So Tanya from Vologda wanted to know about finding French films with subtitles online.  A short search revealed, with subtitles in French which appear to be for deaf French people, since they also describe music, sound effects and so on.

I found it was best to download the archive, together with 7-Zip to extract the files and VLC media player to cope with the subtitles (other approaches were less successful).

Anyway, we both applied ourselves to Ensemble, c’est tout, but Tanya confined herself to watching directly online, which led to a small picture and small sound–and also to slightly corrupt subtitles when I tried it (but she said hers were OK).

Anyway, the site itself is obviously Russian–some of the filepaths have Russian names and the file formats are Russian as well, although the blithe approach to copyright violation would have given the game away anyway…

A story from Villa Amalia by Pascal Quignard

December 8, 2016

The photo


Written on the back of the photo



Inscription in front of book

The copy of ‘Villa Amalia’ I got second-hand from Amazon had this photo in it and this inscription in the front.

So what does the inscription say?  It looks like: J’adore cette photo première d’un bonheur retrouvé. 26 janvier 2013 But surely the première should be in front of the photo–unless it’s in apposition, in which case there’s a comma missing?

The birthday boy seems to be well over 30 if you count the candles on the cake, so bonheur may have been missing for some time…

If it’s really première then [she] has formed the p differently there and in photo. If you look at janvier [her] v extends below the line, which increases the number of possibilities for the suspect word. [She] and [her] are my supposition from j’adore and an inscription in the front of the book. Restoring the omissions there gives us La souffrance [,l’amour, la musique, la faim] avai[en]t fait d’elle une femme intense–which looks like a case of adapting the sentence to refer to oneself.

There are no shes in the photo, which would be strange for a family gathering, so this she might have taken the picture.  Let”s call her Ann Hidden, since she’s behind the camera.  The man on the left of the picture seems to have the same shaped face as the candle-blower-out, which lends credence to the family gathering idea.

My conclusion for the time being is that it’s not a birthday party–there aren’t enough people–but a family celebration of the lad overcoming some mishap and the candles (say) represent the number of [periods] he was in hospital/prison/rehab/married to that woman, though he looks a bit young for some of those. If it was hospital/rehab, that would explain why he is warmly dressed while the bloke behind him is in shirtsleeves.

It’s much easier to leave out punctuation–note that there’s no full stop at the end of the sentence–than put an adjective in the wrong place, so première is a noun in apposition to photo, with some meaning like Première épreuve tirée pour la correction. ‘Galley-proof of happiness’ is quite good really.

Then  the inscription La souffrance…avait fait d’elle une femme intense would fit in well with [Ann Hidden’s] [son] returning from [rehab] [or from death’s door].

There is another and perhaps better idea. When I first looked I thought it had to be pleine or remplie, just by context but could find no way of making that fit what appear to be the letters. The second “l” in elle above doesn’t extend above the line, so you might be OK with pl- plénière [plenary] could fit the bill. I think that in French ‘plenary photo’ would be OK.   Plenary photo from a recovered happiness.  That would indeed imply that [she] took the photo–it would be plenary from her point of view but not the others’.  Which leaves the putative ‘l’ that doesn’t extend above the line–which may not be a problem at all–and the absence of one accent to deal with…A missing accent is better than a missing comma…

Daily Mail: Enemies of the People

November 5, 2016


She’s quite right of course–‘Enemies of the Public’ in English is either calqued from Russian or a translation of Ibsen’s En folkefiendeThere is ‘public enemy’ in English but that means something rather different. In French Revolutionary parlance,  ennemi du peuple is (or was) possible, but rather less likely than ennemi public.  I  don’t even know what народный враг would mean in Russian, since народный is strictly positive in its connotations…

About that translation of Britannicus…

October 27, 2011

I’ve been thinking about Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Britannicus translation, which seemed both natural and highly effective to me. Racine didn’t really do sparkly poetic bling, but I think the nearest thing might be Nero’s speech about seeing Junia from Act II Sc 2:

Excité d’un désir curieux,
Cette nuit je l’ai vue arriver en ces lieux,
Triste, levant au ciel ses yeux mouillés de larmes,
Qui brillaient au travers des flambeaux et des armes,
Belle, sans ornements, dans le simple appareil
D’une beauté qu’on vient d’arracher au sommeil.
Que veux−tu ? Je ne sais si cette négligence,
Les ombres, les flambeaux, les cris et le silence,
Et le farouche aspect de ses fiers ravisseurs,
Relevaient de ses yeux les timides douceurs,
Quoi qu’il en soit, ravi d’une si belle vue,
J’ai voulu lui parler, et ma voix s’est perdue :
Immobile, saisi d’un long étonnement,
Je l’ai laissé passer dans son appartement.
J’ai passé dans le mien. C’est là que, solitaire,
De son image en vain j’ai voulu me distraire.
Trop présente à mes yeux je croyais lui parler,
J’aimais jusqu’à ses pleurs que je faisais couler.
Quelquefois, mais trop tard, je lui demandais grâce ;
J’employais les soupirs, et même la menace.
Voilà comme, occupé de mon nouvel amour,
Mes yeux, sans se fermer, ont attendu le jour.
Mais je m’en fais peut−être une trop belle image,
Elle m’est apparue avec trop d’avantage :
Narcisse, qu’en dis−tu ?

In the translation we have:

It was curiosity–
I saw her come to the palace last night.
She lifted her tear-filled eyes to the skies,
tears that glinted more brightly than weapons, flames–
Lovely, without ornaments, and simply
dressed with the beauty of one still asleep.
What can I say? Was it this scant cover,
the shadows, torches, cries and then silence
or the fierce look of those who were holding her
bringing out the soft shyness of her eyes?
I don’t know–I was entranced by this sight–
I tried to speak to her, my voice left me.
I was rooted to the spot, struck, amazed,
and I let her walk by me to her rooms.
I went to my own rooms and there, alone,
I tried to free myself from her image.
But she was there, before my eyes, I spoke
to her–my love ignited by her tears–
those tears I had caused. Sometimes–but too late–
I asked for her forgiveness, using sighs,
or, when I needed to, terrible threats.
That’s how I spent the whole night–without sleep:
but perhaps I’ve embellished her image–
she appeared to me in too soft a light.
What do you think, Narcissus?

So.  The original in in alexandrines (rhymed iambic hexameter) obviously enough, while the translation–has about ten syllables a line, and that’s about all I can think to say about the prosody.  The translation certainly gets all of the ideas out and across; it took me 77 seconds to read aloud as against 105 for the original.  That lends weight to what one commentator on this production said about the English preference for people doing things on stage as opposed to just talking to each other.

Isn’t the point about Racine that he was writing Huis Clos all the time–a small group of people trapped together by their mutual loathing and dependence?  And the way that things are held formly in place by his alexandrines reflects that or indeed embodies it?  Well that’s not something you could reproduce in English, at least I rather hope not…

La vie d’Irene Nemirovsky (Olivier Philipponnat & Patrick Lienhardt)

March 14, 2010


This is the French original of the work whose English translation was launched during Jewish Book Week.  As I recall, there it was revealed that they had found some new material for the English version during a recent visit to Russia, in particular from Tatiana, the grand-daughter of Irene Nemirovsky’s aunt-cum-surrogate sister Victoria.  In fact, they may even have found some more documentary material…

From this book, it seems as though Le vin du solitude is highly autobiographical, certainly with regard to Nemirovsky’s childhood and her relationship with her mother.  I’m not sure that we really get an idea of what she was like–that may be inevitable with a biography of a writer, where we already seem to know more about the subject than any biography could tell us–and some events in her life happen offstage, presumably in the absence of any reliable evidence.  For instance, one moment she’s studying Russian and comparative literature at the Sorbonne while going out having a good time with her friends, while the next she’s married to Michel Epstein and engaged in producing oeuvres alimentaires to make ends meet.  OK, so her father’s fortune had disappeared about the time of his death, so that explains something…

How she met Michel Epstein, what their marriage was like–we never really learn.  Similarly, while she was determined to love her daughters in the way that she had never been loved herself, it appears that she wanted to have them educated by governesses, so that they (like her) would not have any schoolfriends–an irony that surely deserves some comment or explanation.

I also didn’t get an idea of what ways her books are like those of other French writers of her time, and in what way they differ from them.  There are odd cases where we learn about the same topics being treated by other writers, but nothing systematic.  The eternal undergraduate would be inclined to claim that the difference is that at the end of her freedom she was in the Burgundian countryside with no occupation other than writing Suite Francaise and no way of gaining control over her circumstances except by rising above them into objectivity.

We do learn a lot about how much she earned for what book when it was published by whom, and indeed the reason given for her never seeking to cross the line into Vichy France was that she depended on a mensualite from her publishers in Paris.  At the same time, her mother lasted out the war years in Nice with forged Latvian papers, which makes it sound as though survival was merely a matter of technique.

Irene Nemirovsky est bien plus preoccupee de litterature que de sauver sa peau, mais il se pourrait que cela revienne au meme car: ‘Ce qui demeure: 1) notre humble vie quotidienne; 2) l’art; 3) Dieu.’

Some time after Irene Nemirovsky had been…taken away…, Julie Dumot, who had agreed to look after her daughters, went to ask for help from their grandmother.  ‘I have no granddaughters’ came the answer through the closed door of her flat.  But they survived, and so–in the end–did what we know as Suite Francaise.

All that will remain of us is love.