Thursday, July 16, 2009
Bruxos vs. Trouxas: Watching Harry Potter in Brazil
It's beginning to feel like a tradition: watching Harry Potter movies in foreign countries. Actually, it's only happened twice, once here and once in France, but it's a bizarre (and exciting) enough experience to leave quite an impression.
I was in France when the fourth movie came out. That's the one where different wizarding schools -- including a French one -- come to Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament. In the version of the movie dubbed in French, the students at the French school don't have French accents. Or rather, all of the witches and wizards have French accents, even Harry, since they're all speaking French.
Also -- I still get a kick out of this -- in French they call wands "baguettes"! It really threw me at first when someone told Harry not to forget to bring his baguette. I mean, I know the French are obsessed with their bread, but would they really go so far as to work it into this British story? Then I figured it out, and felt just a little bit stupid.
So I found that watching Harry Potter dubbed over in French was not the most authentic experience. When I realized that I would be in Brazil for the opening of the sixth movie, I knew I wanted to watch it with subtitles. I also wanted to watch it at midnight (if only to watch it at least one hour ahead of everyone in the United States). However, the movie theater near my apartment did not have a showing that fulfilled both criteria, and I didn't want to be a long bus ride from home at 2:30 in the morning, so I settled for waiting 19 hours after it officially opened.
I went to buy tickets the day before with several friends, and we discovered that though there were about a dozen tickets left, they were all in the front row. Apparently this movie theater has assigned seating. Though we worried about neck pain, we decided it was worth it.
I wasn't yet sure how Brazil felt about Harry Potter (despite the sold-out theater). Then I sat down at 7 pm yesterday and the noise began. The teenagers in the theater screamed like crazy for every character when he or she appeared on screen for the first time. I guess they were all reading the subtitles so they didn't have to worry about missing any of the lines. Ron -- aka Rony here in Brazil -- seemed to be the fan favorite, followed closely by Draco Malfoy ("EU TE AMO, DRACO!!" yelled the girl directly behind me).
While I luckily could understand the words as the actors spoke them (well, when I could hear them through the screaming), I looked down at the subtitles occasionally to see what bizarre translations the Brazilians had come up with. Quidditch became Quadribol -- not half as cool. Muggles became Trouxas, which is actually a real word in Portuguese, meaning (according to my dictionary) someone who is gullible, a sucker. An idiot. I thought that was a little blunt. Not all Muggles are stupid -- we're just... Muggles.
The word for wand in Portuguese is not nearly so misleading as it is in French, but they did seem to change a lot proper nouns in the Brazilian version. Brazilians just find it impossible to pronounces words that end in most consonant sounds (hence lapee-topee, webee-sitee, etc. -- and apparently "Rony").
All in all, it was a great experience. I no longer have any doubt that Brazilians are into Harry Potter (though perhaps not all of them -- my host mother didn't have any idea what I was talking about until I told her, "You know, the kids who do magic"). And now I have some essential vocabulary to add to my list of Portuguese words.