domenica 17 giugno 2018

Why "Cagnetta in calore" (Bitch In Heat) Was In No Way What Adam Kesher Meant


Every time I watched Mulholland Drive in the Italian version, I always wondered at director Adam Kesher's inconsistent and inexplicable rudeness when he calls his secretary  a "cagnetta in calore" ("little bitch in heat" (sic!)) after she offers him shelter. Of course, most people wouldn't care, but I've always been a bit pedantic and that appears to be a strong point for a translator. Well, it turns out that was a mistranslation matched with a wrong interpretation (which does not surprise me in the least after having become familiar with several such cases).

What Mr Kesher actually says in English is "Just get along little doggie and call me back". The expression "Get/Git along little dogies/doggies", also the title of a cowboy ballad, is traditionally associated with cowboys gathering herds of cattle, that is, the "doggie" mentioned here is not a dog nor a she-dog/bitch at all, but a calf. Since Adam's secretary has to get in touch with a weird cowboy Adam has to meet later and then call Adam back, it makes perfectly sense that he starts talking like a cowboy. Curiously enough, most Italian subs seem to wish to amend the mistake by changing "cagnetta in calore" to "cucciolotta" or "cucciolotto" (puppy/cub/sweetie), which at least is not an insult, but is still a wrong interpretation.

What about the other languages? The French subs I found seem to understand the reference to the cowboy talk, because they read "En selle, Calamity Jane, and rappelle-moi" ("Saddle up, Calamity Jane, and call me back"), while the Dutch subs say "Begin met omcirkelen, schapendoes, en bel terug" ("Start circling around, sheepdog, and call [me] back"), which is not bad since it tries to retain the "dog" part while connecting it to herding, although probably it's not cowboyish enough.
Now I'm dying to know what Adam says in your language... even if I kind of dread to hear.



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