What Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” Gets Right About Japan | The New Yorker


13 bookmarks. First posted by farley13 8 days ago.


As I walked out of the theatre, Anderson’s decision not to subtitle the Japanese speakers struck me as a carefully considered artistic choice. “Isle of Dogs” is profoundly interested in the humor and fallibility of translation. This is established early, by the title card: “The humans in this film speak only in their native tongue (occasionally translated by bilingual interpreter, foreign exchange student, and electronic device). The dogs’ barks are translated into English.” From the start, Anderson points to the various and suspect ways in which translation occurs. Official Interpreter Nelson, voiced by Frances McDormand, works for the government, but her reliability is thrown into doubt when she starts inserting her own comments—“Holy Moses!”;“Boy, what a night!”—while on the job. In one scene, she’s casually replaced by a little boy. The simul-talk devices, meanwhile, are shown to be operated by shadowy men in white starched shirts. This is the beating heart of the film: there is no such thing as “true” translation. Everything is interpreted. Translation is malleable and implicated, always, by systems of power.
5 days ago by cipherpolice
To say that the Wes Anderson film dehumanizes the Japanese is to assume the primacy of an English-speaking audience. Photograph by Fox Searchlight Pictures /…
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5 days ago by rudenoise
Briliant commentary on Isle of Dogs by Moeko Fujii:

hat tip to
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5 days ago by debrouwere
To say that the Wes Anderson film dehumanizes the Japanese is to assume the primacy of an English-speaking audience. Photograph by Fox Searchlight Pictures /…
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6 days ago by peterjblack
a nice read: What Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” Gets Right About Japan
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6 days ago by mfwit
To say that the Wes Anderson film dehumanizes the Japanese is to assume the primacy of an English-speaking audience. Photograph by Fox Searchlight Pictures /…
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6 days ago by adrian802
This is the beating heart of the film: there is no such thing as “true” translation. Everything is interpreted. Translation is malleable and implicated, always, by systems of power.

That the Japanese person usually responds in the negative—of course we’re fine with Scarlett!—speaks only to the fact that Japan is a country with neither ethnic diversity nor a substantial critical race discourse. To be Asian-American, meanwhile, is to develop a brutal familiarity with seeing Asia, and Asian characters, distorted, passivized, and flattened by white hands.
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7 days ago by craniac
This perspective of 's “Isle of Dogs” by makes me want to see the film more. Thank you.
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7 days ago by danielcurran
To say that the Wes Anderson film dehumanizes the Japanese is to assume the primacy of an English-speaking audience. Photograph by Fox Searchlight Pictures /…
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8 days ago by mleduc