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Cinematic JourneysFilm and Movement$
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Dimitris Eleftheriotis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633128

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633128.001.0001

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Reading subtitles: travelling films meet foreign spectators

Reading subtitles: travelling films meet foreign spectators

(p.178) Chapter 8 Reading subtitles: travelling films meet foreign spectators
Cinematic Journeys

Dimitris Eleftheriotis

Edinburgh University Press

By focusing on subtitles, this chapter maps out and delineates critical positions as they emerge within film theory and ‘world cinema’ in order to investigate their limitations. It proposes an understanding of ‘foreign spectators’ as characters encountered in the travels of films but explores this metaphor with a shift in point of view away from that of the traveller. It views subtitles as the marks of a journey, imprinted on the bodies of travelling films and read by the spectators that they encounter. The reading involved has a double frame of reference: it is an act of consumption of the literal meaning that the subtitles provide but also a critical and productive act that reads the subtitles as incomplete signs and instigates cultural syncretism and semiotic engagement with the films. The chapter uses Emir Kusturica's Black Cat, White Cat (1998) to posit the engagement of a fictional character, Grga Pitić (played by Sabri Sulejman), with Michael Curtiz's Casablanca (1942) as an idealised and emblematic instance of the ‘foreign spectator’.

Keywords:   Emir Kusturica, Black Cat, White Cat, Michael Curtiz, Casablanca, foreign spectators, world cinema, subtitles, travelling films, spectators

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