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Why the Spanish Dialogue in 'Spider-Verse' Doesn't Have Subtitles
"While watching the new animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – featuring Miles Morales’ big screen debut as the arachnid superhero – it’s reassuring to notice the subtle, yet transcendent details through which the creators ensured both parts of his cultural identity are present.

Miles (voiced by Shameik Moore), an Afro-Latino teen who lives in Brooklyn and first appeared in Marvel’s comics back in 2011, is the son of a Puerto Rican mother and an African-American father. The protagonist’s significance – when it comes to representation – cannot be overstated, making the fact that he and his mother (Rio Morales who’s voiced by Nuyorican actress Luna Lauren Velez) speak Spanish throughout the action-packed narrative truly momentous.

Although brief, the Spanish phrases and words we hear connote the genuine colloquialisms that arise in bilingual homes as opposed to the artificiality that sometimes peppers US-produced movies and feels like the result of lines being fed through Google Translate. It might come as a surprise for some that Phil Lord, known for writing and directing The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street with his close collaborator Christopher Miller, was not only one of the main scribes and a producer on Spider-Verse, but also the person in charge of the Spanish-language dialogue.

“I grew up in a bilingual household in the bilingual city of Miami where you hear Spanish all over the place, and it’s not particularly remarkable,” he told Remezcla at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles. Lord’s mother is from Cuba and his father is from the States. As part of a Cuban-American family, the filmmaker empathized with Miles’ duality: “I certainly understand what it’s like to feel like you’re half one thing and half something else,” he noted.


Despite the massive success of Pixar’s Coco, including Spanish-language dialogue in a major studio’s animated release is still rare – doing so without adding subtitles, even for some of the longer lines, is outright daring. “It was important for us to hear Spanish and not necessarily have it subtitled,” said Lord. “It’s just part of the fabric of Miles’ community and family life.”

For Luna Lauren Velez, whose character speaks mostly in Spanish to Miles, Lord and the directors’ decision to not translate her text in any way helped validate the Latino experience on screen. “That was really bold, because if you use subtitles all of a sudden we are outside, and we are not part of this world anymore. It was brilliant that they just allowed for it to exist,” she told Remezcla. Her role as Rio Morales also benefited from the production’s adherence to specificity in the source material, she is not portrayed as just generically Latina but as a Puerto Rican woman from Brooklyn.

With the help of a dialect coach, Velez and Lord were also partially responsible for getting Shameik Moore (who has roots in Jamaica) to learn the handful of Spanish-language expressions Miles uses during the opening sequence were he walks around his neighborhood. “[Luna] has been getting on me! I need to go to Puerto Rico, and really learn Spanish for real,” Moore candidly told Remezcla on the red carpet.

Aside from Rio and Miles, the only other Spanish-speaking character is a villain named Scorpion. The insect-like bad guy who speaks only in Spanish is voiced by famed Mexican performer Joaquín Cosio. “He is an actor from Mexico City who was using slang that we had to look up because we didn’t understand it! I had never heard some of the words he used,” explained Lord.

[video: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - "Gotta Go" Clip" ]

For Lord, having different Spanish accents represented is one of the parts of Into the Spider-Verse he’s the most proud of. He wanted to make sure Miles and Rio didn’t sound alike to indicate how language changes through different generations. Being himself the child of a Cuban immigrant, the parallels were very direct. “Miles is second-generation, so he speaks different than his mother.”

Velez, who like Miles is born in New York, identifies with what it’s like to communicate in both tongues. “Growing my parents spoke to us in Spanish and we responded in English. Now this happens with my nieces and nephews,” she said. “You want to make sure kids remember their culture and where they come from.” In playing Rio, she thought of her mother who instilled in her not only the language but appreciation for her Latinidad.

Clearly, casting Velez was essential to upholding the diversity and authenticity embedded into Miles Morales’ heroic adventure since not doing so would have been a disservice to an iteration of an iconic figure that is so meaningful for many. “If Spider-Man’s Puerto Rican mom had been played by somebody who isn’t Latino I’d have a problem with that,” Velez stated emphatically."
language  translation  spanish  español  bilingualism  bilingual  srg  edg  glvo  carlosaguilar  2018  spider-verse  spiderman  miami  losangeles  nyc  coco  subtitles  specificity  puertorico  cuba  immigration  via:tealtan  accents  change  adaptation  latinidad 
yesterday by robertogreco
Washington Monthly | The Trump Administration’s Assault on Asylum Seekers
rgent cries for help recently rang out from an abandoned factory in Piedras Negras, Mexico. More than a thousand asylum seekers, including young children, are locked in there against their will, without blankets or basic necessities.
vanderbilt  peabody  lpo  heinrich  immigration  asylum 
yesterday by kbrobeck
Britain needs a day of reckoning. Brexit will provide it | Nesrine Malik | Opinion | The Guardian
It has laid bare our political class, squirming pathetically and uselessly under the micro-scrutiny of Brexit. To paraphrase Jeff Bezos, Brexit rolled over the log and we saw what crawled out. The cavalier incompetence of David Davis, the dissimulating of Boris Johnson, the utter pointlessness of Michael Gove, the existence of Jacob Rees-Mogg and the dishonest and regressive elitism he represents. We have seen ministers entrusted with the future of the country learn on the job, and then flee the scene – revealing Westminster in general, and the Tories in particular, as a Ponzi scheme, a confidence trick. We now realise that the business of serious politics in this country rewards those whose only skill is keeping up the appearance of having a skill.
UK  Brexit  politics  delusion  decline  polarisation  division  exceptionalism  inequality  immigration  climateChange 
yesterday by petej
Revealed: how Home Office hires out staff to hunt migrants | UK news | The Guardian
Migrants’ rights experts warned that the service was the latest example of the government “trying to embed immigration checks in every aspect of life in the UK”.
immigration  uk 
yesterday by Ciudilo

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