The Linguist

The Linguist 58,6 - Dec/Jan2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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26 The Linguist Vol/58 No/6 2019 REVIEWS CIOL volunteers review the films that have inspired and touched them Todo Sobre Mi Madre Moving pictures Jennifer Radford, Translating Division I love this film (1999) for its comedy, language and underlying theme of female empowerment. Culture, humour and emotion are central to the plot, which deals with director Pedro Almodóvar's recurring themes of sexuality, womanhood, companionship, and life's joys and misfortunes. Manuela's son Esteban is knocked down and killed on his 17th birthday as he attempts to get the autograph of actor Huma Rojo. In her grief, she travels to Barcelona to tell Esteban's father – now a transgender woman called Lola – about the son she never knew she had. Along the way, Manuela meets various women, each with their own story that is connected to her own in some way, who accompany her in her grief. Known in English as All About My Mother, the film is full of Spanish cultural references. Almodóvar uses wordplay, humour, and the juxtaposition of suffering and sadness alongside the ridiculous, to create a funny and moving reflection on love, life and tragedy. Reza Navaei, Membership Committee Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay for this 1990 movie based on Margaret Atwood's novel of the same name. It follows Offred (Natasha Richardson), the 'handmaid' assigned to produce a baby for a commander and his wife in the Christian extremist state of Gilead. What strikes me most about the film, beyond the overtones of suppression and subjugation of women, is its vivid portrayal of the aftermath of "purification in the name of God" designed to restore "respect, reverence and values" (as the commander puts it), thereby normalising the dehumanisation of others in society. This struck a chord with me, growing up in the Middle East, where the repetition of meaningless mantras, gender segregation, and use of force and surveillance were played out in the name of the nation's salvation. The feeling of walking in a place that you used to know but don't know anymore was familiar. Capturing a sense of change 'for the better' that leads to despair, the film feels as relevant today as it did when it first came out. The Handmaid's Tale Y|ÄÅá Central do Brasil Keith Moffitt, ED&I Committee The central character of Walter Salles's Bafta- winning Central do Brasil (Central Station; 1998) is brilliantly played by Fernanda Montenegro, who is something of a national institution in Brazil. Dora writes letters for illiterate customers from a stand in the eponymous train station. She is befriended by a boy (Vincius de Oliveira) whose mother had used Dora to write to her missing husband before dying in an accident. This is by no means a heartwarming tale of a woman trying to help a sad orphan find his missing father. Dora is initially hard- edged and cynical, often destroying letters dictated to her, but Montenegro portrays the character's subtle, almost imperceptible, transition to a kinder person. I particularly enjoyed this film for its depiction of many aspects of modern Brazil, which is very different from the country's tourist image, and its warts-and-all portrayal of the harshness of life in the interior of the north of this sprawling country.

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