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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - yourview@ theaus­tralian.com.au

I HAVE be­come ac­cus­tomed to sideswipes at the royal fam­ily from frus­trated repub­li­cans, so why was I sur­prised at Ian Cuth­bert­son’s claim in his tele­vi­sion re­view that the sun’s ap­pear­ances in Lon­don are as rare as Princess Anne’s? (Quickbites,

The Truth About Look­ing Younger, De­cem­ber 15-16). Very funny, but if the com­par­i­son were real­is­tic then Lon­don would have sun on more days than there are in a year —– last year she ful­filled well over 500 of­fi­cial en­gage­ments, sec­ond only to Prince Charles (both many more than any other royal). The Princess Royal is this week vis­it­ing Bri­tish troops in Afghanistan, some­thing she has done sev­eral times. It is a mis­take to con­fuse me­dia in­ter­est, es­pe­cially TV, with re­al­ity. Linda Michalak Caves Beach, NSW EVAN Wil­liams, re­view­ing Love Is All You Need (Re­view, De­cem­ber 8-9), ad­vised read­ers that ‘‘those who dis­like subti­tled films (and I know many peo­ple do)’’ should not be con­cerned, as there is min­i­mal sub­ti­tling in the film. I find it dif­fi­cult to ac­cept that a cin­ema critic, in 2012, would seem to be, if not en­cour­ag­ing, at least not at­tempt­ing to break down the an­ti­quated re­vul­sion to­wards subti­tled films. In a for­eign lan­guage film, as in any film, the au­di­ence can ap­pre­ci­ate its plot, act­ing, cine­matog­ra­phy, philo­soph­i­cal or eth­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion, mu­sic and much more, in­clud­ing the words spo­ken by the characters. The lan­guage of a par­tic­u­lar coun­try is the ex­pres­sion of its cul­ture, its very essence, its life. When a lan­guage dis­ap­pears we say it has died. We can gain so much from hear­ing the ca­dences of an un­known lan­guage or, if we are for­tu­nate, one that we may have learned or was our first lan­guage, while ab­sorbed in a film. The ‘‘many peo­ple’’ Wil­liams refers to have for­got­ten that when they watch an English lan­guage film they do not rely purely on speech for mean­ing; in­deed speech can at times feel su­per­flu­ous. In ad­di­tion, when Wil­liams refers to one of the characters in the film as hav­ing been ‘‘clev­erly dubbed’’, what he’s really ad­mit­ting is that clever dub­bing is the ex­cep­tion, rather than nor­mal prac­tice. He’s ob­vi­ously fa­mil­iar with the kind of film where the lips move in one di­rec­tion, and the sound in an­other; or films in which the dubbed va­ri­ety of English jars with the set­ting; or, hor­ror of hor­rors, when what is be­ing said is mis­con­strued or worse. Fi­nally, in a coun­try such as Aus­tralia, which seems so re­sis­tant to lan­guage learn­ing, the hand­ful of for­eign lan­guage stu­dents can en­hance their learn­ing and en­joy­ment with ac­cess to subti­tled films. Lilli Lipa Ash­bur­ton, Vic­to­ria I HAVE en­joyed Colin Peasley’s per­for­mances with the Aus­tralian Bal­let since its very be­gin­nings. Un­til I read Deb­o­rah Jones’s ac­count of her in­ter­view with him mark­ing his re­tire­ment as a full-time mem­ber of the bal­let corps af­ter a 50-year ca­reer (‘‘Bravura per­for­mance’’, Re­view, De­cem­ber 8-9), I didn’t know he was such a crook dancer. This is car­ry­ing mod­esty a bit too far. Peasley’s tal­ent and per­son­al­ity shine through ev­ery role he takes on. He has been an out­stand­ing mem­ber of the com­pany. James Prior Syl­va­nia Wa­ters, NSW To be con­sid­ered for publi­ca­tion, let­ters must con­tain an ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Let­ters may be edited for length and clar­ity.

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