"I hate subtitled films! I want to watchThe Fast and the Furious, not SergeiSludganovsky's Dreariness: A Life in Mud!"
My better half recently went into a video shop in County Wexford to rent Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon, or Das weiße Band, Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (if you want to use its German title). (Am I showing my age by saying "video shop"?) When she brought it up to the counter, the clerk said: "You know that's a foreign film?". What was the correct response?
A) "Thank you, I know that." (optional: "Even if I didn't know about the film, which won the Palmes d'Or at Cannes, I did actually read the DVD box. And, if you wish to be pedantic, practically all your stock comprises of foreign films, seeing as the US is not part of Ireland. What you mean is that it's a foreign language film, and therefore subtitled, something which may throw members of the Plain People of Ireland into paroxysms of rage after they get home and discover that, in addition to having to do a little light reading while watching their film, it may expose them to dangerously high levels of Art, entirely undiluted by thick levels of populist, pandering entertainment (something that no God-fearing Irish citizen wants))."B) "Jaysus, I'd better put it back then, coz reading is for pansies, which is why I brought it all the way to the counter in the first place, being too lazy (or unable) to read the DVD box. Besides, European films don't have nearly enough car chases, flatulence-based humour, big guns, superheroes, happy endings, or vapid, unconvincing romances. Now where's that copy of Iron Man 8?"C) "Oh Christ no! Nooooooooooo!" (This is screamed at the top of your lungs. You then hurl the DVD across the shop, punch the clerk in the face, and run from the shop yelling "I need a priest! I touched it!", fearing that if you don't have your hand blessed, it may wither off from contact with such a gross evil. After this, you organise an angry mob with pitchforks and torches, carrying signs declaring "Being Irish, we only want English films!" and "No subtitled films except Godfather II and Avatar!")
Okay, I know that I've (not unusually) gone a bit over the top here, but this attitude really annoys me. The clerk in the shop has obviously been informed by management to warn people if it's a subtitled film, which says a lot about Irish attitudes to cinema (as does the pathetically inadequate stock in every DVD shop). Why do so many Irish people have such an aversion to films with writing along the bottom of the screen? To be honest, I don't really care...
But hark! let us abandon the world of the local DVD shop and head to the cinema! What do we find? Well the SGC in Enniscorthy is showing Toy Story 3 (unnecessary sequel), Shrek: Forever After (unnecessary sequel), Twilight Saga: Eclipse (unnecessary sequel, primarily for teenagers, I believe (the whole Twilight phenomenon has, thankfully, passed me by)), Predators (unnecessary sequel), The Karate Kid (unnecessary remake of a silly 1980s film), and The A-Team (unnecessary remake of a silly 1980s TV show). So is the Wexford Omniplex, the Arklow multiplex, and the Gorey multiplex. Those three are also showing The Rebound (which sounds vacuous) and Inception (the only thing that looks bearable). In addition, Gorey and Arklow are showing The Tooth Fairy (Gorey and Arklow), and Get Him To The Greek (Arklow), which look unbearable, as well as His & Hers (Gorey), which is at least Irish, but such is my antipathy towards Ireland at the moment that I'd rather shave my face with an angle-grinder than sit through a film about this country. Looks like the cinema ain't an option this weekend, unless I'm struck by lightning and lose two-thirds of my brain (or a freak time-travel accident regresses me to the age of 14). Thank God I picked up a copy of Woman in the Dunes in the Oxfam shop for a euro!