Friday, June 16, 2006

Gagnez Un Rendez-Vous Avec Tad Hamilton

I'm not one to complain about the french on the Corn Flakes box, but sometimes there are disappointing things about living in a country that enforces bilingualism on packaging. Most DVDs that are released in Canada that have a french language audio track now sport bilingual packaging, so you look at the cover and it says Batman Begins on the top and then in smaller text underneath, Batman: Le Commencement. That touch takes away from the grandeur, I think. Sometimes they have to distort the original studio artwork to impose these french graphics. And then they also print both the english and french title of the film on the spine of the case. So now when I go to inspect my collection I see on the shelf such films as Invasion of the Body Snatchers/L'Invasion des Profanateurs or The Warriors/Les Guerriers de la Nuit. Casino is titled Casino/Casino on the spine. Why? I would hate to meet the bureaucrat who could answer this question for me.

I can't see the french consumer being thrilled to have this bilingual packaging anyway - the use of French is usually crudely photoshopped into the original cover art, like an afterthought or an obligation. I don't know why they don't offer consumers either reversible packaging (english and french on either side of the cover insert) or use alternate french language artwork on 25% of the print run. I was thrilled to come across a used Quebecois copy of Femme Fatale ("de Brian De Palma, Le Maitre Du Suspense Erotique"). The french packaging is the cherry on that particular cake.

Anyway I find this enforced and bland bilingualism on domestic videos irritating for the most part. But there are exceptions. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls came out on DVD last Tuesday. I was considering ordering a copy from the states just so I would have a pristine english only package of a very eagerly anticipated release. Until I found out the french title of BVD is Orgissimo.

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