The Visitor, an introduction

In a fit of creativity not long ago, I thought it would be great to put together an American film festival for the students at the high school where I am teaching this year.

The idea quickly got whittled down. This high school has an internat – a dormitory – and, every Thursday there’s a film shown for the benefit of the boarders. So, my “festival” became: show one American film in English (with French subtitles) [most foreign films are dubbed, so this is a major step up] per month for the next couple of months (that is: while I’m still here).

The first film was tonight. I picked “The Visitor”. We had a small turn out. There were about a dozen students – including a few couples whose intentions were clearly not in the realm of intellectual pursuit. Eh. Who can blame them?

Anyway, I’ll recommend you see this film, if you haven’t – or, see it again, if you have. If that recommendation isn’t persuasive in and of itself (what? you don’t take me at my word?), here’s the introduction I gave the students tonight – in English & then in French…

Tonight’s film is called “The Visitor”. It is an American film, made in 2007.
The film tells a story about loneliness and friendship, as well as about the struggles faced by illegal immigrants, the power of music, and the responsibility we have to each other to see each other as people. I found this film touching and I hope that you will find it equally so.

Ce film raconte l’histoire de la solitude et l’amitié, et aussi des luttes qui se sont confronté par les sans papiers, le pouvouir de la musique, et la responsabilité dont nous avons tous de regarder les autres avec un regard de fraternité et d’humanité. C’est un film qui m’a touché et j’espère que vous le trouverez aussi touchant.

The French is a little more precise – “the responsibility that we have to view each other with a regard of brotherhood and humanity” – I’m not sure I would have reached that precision without having encountered the project of translating my own words out of my mother tongue. So, that is tonight’s bonus.

(Special thanks to my mom for helping me think about how to introduce this film & to A.D.M., who only had enough time to help me with the first half of the translation, but whose quick words of encouragement reminded me that I could sort myself out on the most complicated part.)

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About scribblelip

walking down the road with a book of conjugations in my hand.
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