Friday, April 18, 2003

Freudian and Other Slips

Yesterday I wrote review for Personal Best, 1982 sport drama directed by Robert Towne. This reminded me of a time when this film had been aired on Croatian state television in June 2000.

In that time, Croatian state television still operated under rules introduced in Autumn 1999, few months before the elections that would remove HDZ from power. Tudjmanist administration tried to secure the support of Catholic Church by cleaning the act of state television and puting "objectionable" content (sex and nudity) in late night time slots. Afternoons were supposed to be family friendly, with 14:00 time slot being reserved for American television films – the only films you could be certain of not having nudity, sex or four-letter words.

HDZ lost elections, but the scheme continued for extra few months (and in some form continues today, since current state television editor-in-chief is devout Catholic).

But in June 2000 Croatian housewives, little children and the rest of national audience had their afternoon delight in form of Personal Best. Television's executive probably brushed through the brief plot description of this film, blissfully unaware why this film had been ground-breaking some two decades ago. He probably thought that Personal Best is nothing more than American TV-movie.

The audience thought that too. And probably was very surprised to find characters using four-letter words, than plenty of full frontal nudity and, last but not least, explicit lesbian action.

Interestingly enough, Personal Best being in afternoon time slot wasn't the only slip by Croatian state television. Those who like to compare dialogue with translation in subtitles could also notice something interesting. One of the characters in the film is Jodie "Peach" Anderson. But the translator referred to her as "Pam Anderson", which is interesting, since character in question happened to be black athlete with anatomic details that hardly resembled Baywatch star.


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