The culture that is French, a continuing series

by on May 23, 2006 at 6:26 am in Books | Permalink

The best-selling book in French history?

Sadly it is The da Vinci Code.  It is estimated that five million copies are already purchased and that one-quarter of the French reading public has read the work; see Business Week, 29 May 2006.

I fly to Bordeaux tonight, wish me luck, and don’t expect Latino immigration to be the topic of this blog for the next week…

1 Christopher May 23, 2006 at 6:56 am

Too bad they aren’t reading Bastiat! ;-(

2 Chairman Mao May 23, 2006 at 8:45 am

What about Latino immigration to France? (Or the North African kind if you like).

3 Ted Craig May 23, 2006 at 9:07 am

What about blogging about French immigration? I’m really curious about how many people are voting with their feet after a year of unrest.

4 Peter May 23, 2006 at 9:40 am

For all their differences, the French are just like Americans in one respect:
They enjoy badly written pseudointellectual crap just as much as we do.

5 Mr. Econotarian May 23, 2006 at 10:34 am

“PARIS, France (Reuters) — France’s lower house of parliament easily passed a divisive immigration law put forward by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday which has been heavily criticized by the opposition, the church and immigrant groups.

The law aims to attract skilled workers while keeping less skilled ones out. Critics say it will stigmatize foreigners, discriminate against the poor and undermine France’s traditional role as a haven for the persecuted.”

You can’t have much socialism without discrimination.

6 neil May 23, 2006 at 11:50 am

Interesting. While we’re talking about French philistinism, can anyone explain to me why they like to watch dubbed movies rather than subtitled? Is it really just the stereotypical language snobbery?

There are American movies that are easier to download dubbed into French than they are in their original language.. particularly Spike Lee, of whom the French are apparently fans.

7 Shaun M. May 23, 2006 at 1:21 pm


It is for the same reasons Americans who watch foreign language films prefer dubbing, it provides a familiarity to the viewer and arguably (to them) provides for an easier suspension of belief.

Interestingly, in Montreal most Francophones prefer to watch Hollywood movies in English, even those who are not very fluent in the language. They believe dubbing distracts from the “realism” of the film and from the actor’s performance (especially the big name actors). In other parts of the province where English is less used and less well understood, they prefer a French-Canadian dub.

8 neil May 23, 2006 at 4:23 pm

Yeah, I don’t believe that Americans actually do prefer dubbed films. And since I, like Sean, live in Chile, I can testify that if you want to see dubbed movies you’d better enjoy kids’ films or else get network TV. (Most kids’ movies with crossover appeal, like Harry Potter, are also available in subtitled showings.)

Where’s that cinema you go to, Sean? In Santiago, I hope?

9 kyle8 May 23, 2006 at 5:51 pm

Dubbing depends entirely on the type of movie. If its some slow moving art-house Bergman flick, then sure, you have plenty of time to read the subtitles. However, I saw both a dubbed and a subtitled version of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the film moved far too fast for the subtitled version.

10 Johnny Debacle May 24, 2006 at 5:50 am

My experience living in Europe.

UK do not dub American films.
Dutch don’t seem to dub American films.
Italians almost always dub American films (watching the Three Burials of The Melquiades Estrada dubbed into Italian would kind of defeat the point no? As would Capote.)
Spain mostly dubbed.

And put me in the category of people who has never seen a foreign movie dubbed in a US cinema. And I know no one who prefers anything but subtitled unless the movie is a pure schlocky kung-fu or HK Woo movie.

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