Say No to Subtitles (2013)

Say-No-To-SubtitlesPosterDirector Jordan Wippell’s short mock documentary is a funny bit of role reversal, where Wippell chronicles the life of an avid movie buff. Instead of this movie fan being for all forms of movie going, he happens to be furiously against the idea of subtitles during a movie. He not only hates subtitles, but hates foreign films altogether. Sam Bowtell is hilarious as the movie geek Edward who owns his own movie store DVD Nation.

For some reason we can’t quite understand, he is adamantly against the notion of foreign films, and spends most of his days trying to dissuade customers from renting them from his store. He stocks his Foreign section with only the minimum foreign films to satiate his customers, and resorts to tactics to keep them away, including hiding them, and even building a wire fence around the foreign section. It’s a hilarious mocking of the anti-subtitle movie fans, all of whom are convinced they’re above the average movie lover because they won’t “read” a movie while watching it. Bowtell provides a great performance as this intense movie fan who doesn’t seem to understand why he hates foreign films, and spends most of the documentary destroying his own credibility.

One of the funnier moments is when he hands the interviewer a copy of “A Separation” and ponders about its content, insisting that it could be porn or a snuff film. And he’s above the realization of the irony that he makes shirts that say “Say No to Subtitles” forcing people to read his shirt. That said, I’m not sure I understood the final scene all that much. Is there an implication that movie fans that hate subtitles are automatically racist? Why did we leave the movie with the inference that Edward was racist when it’s not indicated throughout the film? Aren’t all subtitle-phobes just ignorant? In spite of that final head scratcher, “Say No to Subtitles” is a really funny and clever bit of satire on the anti-subtitle movie crowds, and the inherently odd fanaticism behind the dismissal of subtitles.