April 20, 2024


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The most perfect English of “The New Look” and “Mr Spade”.

The most perfect English of “The New Look” and “Mr Spade”.


The first is currently airing on Apple TV + and the second will be broadcast online on Canal + starting February 26. Each of the two places its plot in France – Paris New lookA small town in the south of France Mr. Spade –Basically has French characters but, due to international production, English serves as the vehicle language.

Read the review: Article reserved for our subscribers “The New Look,” on Apple TV+: 1940s France, a fashion designer “lost in translation”

In New look, Shakespeare's use of language is part of a harmonious convention that explains the role of, among others, the Australian, Ben Mendelsohn, Christian Dior and the Englishwoman Maisie Williams, her assertive little sister in the Resistance. Let's agree. After all, we've seen others. Peplums are rare in Latin. In Schindler's List (1993), English is spoken throughout Germany. Closer to us, the Soviets of the miniseries Chernobyl (2019) Express themselves without complexes in the language of the enemy camp.

However, we have come a long way: streaming platforms are known to have contributed to the use of subtitles, DTT and connected televisions in general have allowed viewers to choose the original version for their evening film, and dubbing has been around in recent years. , the lost land.

Oddly enough

In both of these series, the choice to use English as the common denominator of the alphabet is even more surprising. In New look, this choice is less about using English-speaking actors for good French roles than about the linguistic distortion that forces French-speaking actors. Therefore, Juliette Binoche as Coco Chanel and Jabo Friedman as Dior's assistant were asked to speak in English. With an international audience, the weirdness is a little better, but for a French audience, it's simply confusing.

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In Mr. Spade, the choice of English as the main language already seems a little natural, the American detective (the modern incarnation of the character created by Dashiell Hammett) could have mastered the language a little better since he lived in France. But in trying too hard to simplify its main character's existence, the series loses itself in the impossible: cabaret owners, nuns, and police in this rural post-war France are less likely to speak English. . The same goes for the young orphan Sam Spade protects: a child raised in France, who nevertheless speaks perfect English. A little weak, a little Half English This production would not have done any harm, it hinders the fluidity of the language more than anything else.

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