Monday, February 21, 2005

Subtitling Ken Loach

On Saturday, Cloud and I were channel-hopping late and came across Ken Loach's film Sweet Sixteen. Now I'm confused: when we phoned up the BBC to say "hang on, why has this got automatic subtitles?" we were told that this was how the film was made. We were told that the BBC could have taken the subtitles off, but left them on. The implication was that Loach made the film this way.

Excuse me, but I had no problem understanding the dialect (okay, so I have a penchant for Scottish accents, but that's by-the-by). Cloud was astonished at how it made the participants aliens within their own land; indeed, it was at his suggestion that we contacted the BBC. I know that when the film was released in the US it had subtitles - of so often Scottish films do. But closer examination of the information about the film suggests that the English subtitles are an option, not an integral element.

Can anyone clear this up for us? Digital Spy has a good discussion - well, mostly - and has a link to complain to the BBC. Was the film shown as Loach would have intended a UK audience to watch it?

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