Return To: Board Index | General Discussion

How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Introduce yourself to the community or chat with other users about whatever is on your mind
livelove
Posts: 622
66 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:36 pm

How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby livelove » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:50 am

This has bugged me for so long. I hope you cinema enthusiasts have found a good working method?

Ok, for most films, you can make an educated guess, knowing where the actors were born. Problem is that many actors speak several languages.

I used to go to IMDb and check the language field, but nowadays most of the time there are several language entries, like "English | French" even if only a single French word is spoken during the entire film ...

My method so far is:
- check the IMDb language field
- look where the director was born
- check the actor names

Most of the time, all these align.
But sometimes they don't and then I don't quite know what to do.


Just as an example:
I recently watched Amen.
IMDb says:

Code: Select all

Country: France | Germany | Romania
Language: English | French | Italian | German

so, that's not quite helpful ...

The actors are from France, Germany, Canada, Romania, Austria, etc.
The director was born in Greece.
The story is set in Nazi Germany.

So basically, I'm lost.

When I watched the film, I constantly switched back and forth between French and German audio and both matched the lip movement perfectly. (At least to me, but unfortunately I'm terrible in recognizing mismatching lip movements ...)

My questions to you:

    • How can I find out the original language for this film for example?
    • How can I find out the original language for films in general? Do you know any tricks for that?
    • Is there a website somewhere with a good online database for that purpose?

Many thanks for any help you can offer.


What makes things worse is that there are even films, when the actors speak different languages on the set. I wonder how this works, because I imagine it very odd if some character speak English and others reply in Chinese throughout the film ...

It would be also very odd if in this particular film, the Nazi soldiers were played (and spoken) by French actors, which would make the Nazis speak French, the language of their enemy during WW2 ...

Neowulf
Posts: 7
1243 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:05 am

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby Neowulf » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:02 am

According to Wikipedia, this film is in English. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amen.

I couldn't find any clips except the trailer in which there was no speech to confirm or deny...

Is this really a common problem though? Feels like the films are few and far between where one is uncertain which language it was filmed in.

I know I was a bit confused when watching the partially dubbed version of Drunken Master...

livelove
Posts: 622
66 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:36 pm

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby livelove » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:17 am

thank you for your reply. Yes, I'm often unsure, to be honest. (And the fact that sometimes mixed languages are spoken on the set compounds the problem).
I'd much rather have an authoritative database where I could look up the facts instead of having to guess.

As far as Amen is concerned, I very much doubt that the original language would be English. If that were the case, the French actors playing the German Nazi soldiers would actually speak English with a French accent (French always have a strong accent unless they have grown up bilingual). That would make no sense.

paulofilmo
Posts: 2228
2077 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:40 pm

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby paulofilmo » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:10 pm

livelove wrote:As far as Amen is concerned, I very much doubt that the original language would be English. If that were the case, the French actors playing the German Nazi soldiers would actually speak English with a French accent (French always have a strong accent unless they have grown up bilingual). That would make no sense.


it's in english

https://my.mail.ru/mail/felixreca/video ... o/623.html

harryouchie
Posts: 232
6265 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:41 pm

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby harryouchie » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:54 pm

livelove wrote:As far as Amen is concerned, I very much doubt that the original language would be English. If that were the case, the French actors playing the German Nazi soldiers would actually speak English with a French accent (French always have a strong accent unless they have grown up bilingual). That would make no sense.
This has been common practice on international co-productions for a very long time, for obvious reasons

When I watched the film, I constantly switched back and forth between French and German audio and both matched the lip movement perfectly. (At least to me, but unfortunately I'm terrible in recognizing mismatching lip movements ...)
Some sweet and silly folk'd have you believe there are no right or wrong ways to watch movies. But this is one of the wrong ones

livelove
Posts: 622
66 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:36 pm

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby livelove » Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:06 am

@paulofilmo: thanks for the link, yes the English audio seems to be a good fit

@fundinum: as always you are missing the point

livelove
Posts: 622
66 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:36 pm

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby livelove » Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:08 am

@everyone:
Do you know any reliable online resource/database where the original language of films is listed authoritatively ?

metalhank
Posts: 25
1689 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:09 pm

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby metalhank » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:11 am

for fuck's sake livelove!!

what fundinum is saying makes perfect sense, pick the subtitled language that works for you and it doesn't really matter what language the original is.

many movies now have multiple languages within them and it's totally fine!!! (or even watch them with no subs or dubs)

coffee
Posts: 211
2219 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 7:45 pm

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby coffee » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:17 am

Must there always be an original language?

According to the imdb, in the movie 2046;

"Each character speaks their own languages. Mr. Chow speaks Cantonese, Bai Ling speaks Mandarin, and Tak speaks Japanese even when talking to each other. Even so, they seem to understand each other perfectly."

I find it hilarious btw...
And I think an "original language" is not a necessity.

Neowulf
Posts: 7
1243 Ratings
Your TCI: na
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:05 am

Re: How to find out the original language spoken in a film?

Postby Neowulf » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:28 am

There was always some language spoken by the actors on set, which I think is what we mean by "original language"? (disregarding animation completely in this discussion, of course). In 2046 that you mentioned the original languages were just multiple?

Or do you mean 2046 was never released to cinemas in the language-mixed version, but was dubbed into one single language? That would be one of the (still pretty rare) corner cases. If a movie was filmed in one language on set, but then only released with another language as dub...

I don't think you'll find any more authoritative source than IMDb, Wikipedia, or the film's trailer, or the film itself. Or behind-the-scenes documentaries, but those aren't very practical to watch before watching the movie...

In the example in the original topic, Amen, the question could be resolved by Wikipedia. Does anyone have an example of a film where the original language is actually really hard to figure out? I still feel like this should be a pretty rare problem...


Return to “General Discussion”