news & views
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.