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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

French Film Sans Subtitles Causes Exodus

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 1:30 PM

  • San Francisco Film Society
  • Intouchables

At a Tuesday night San Francisco International Film Festival screening of Intouchables, the projectionist found an apropos time to stop the film. Just as protagonist Driss was corralled by cops after a bout of Steve McQueen-like driving and exclaimed "Merde!" the screen went black.

The problem wasn't Driss saying "Merde!" The problem was the subtitle noting its English equivalent. There was none. In fact, the film fest had been mistakenly sent a copy of the movie without subtitles, according to festival staff. But the crowd didn't know this as several attempts were made to remedy the problem. Certainly it turned out to be a boon for the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas' concessionaire.

In the end, the crowd was offered a deal: Stay and watch the film or get a refund/exchange for the ticket. It very quickly became obvious who was and was not a French speaker, as a large portion of the audience filed out.

Your humble narrator, however, was in a bind. While I am a limited French speaker, my moviegoing companion is French. In fact, she didn't notice there were no subtitles as Driss cursed his way through a police chase. (I did.)

Certainly, other couples were in the same position. Hopefully they stayed -- even with my imperfect French it was a lot of fun, and the chemistry between leads Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy was rather poignant. Afterward, the film fest refunded us the price of one ticket when I simply asked them "What do you think is fair?" Much appreciated.

Staffers said they hope to have a subitled print by Thursday's scheduled showing of the film. But even if it doesn't, go anyway. You'll still have fun -- and the movie theater sells beer.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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