Article: The Translator's Image in Sydney Pollack's Film The Interpreter (The Ethical Dilemma).
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May 14, 2012

This topic is for discussion of the translation article "The Translator's Image in Sydney Pollack's Film The Interpreter (The Ethical Dilemma).".

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Madalina E.F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:32
Romanian to French
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Spaces "in between" Aug 3, 2013

Anthropological studies of ritual and in particular of rites of passage have defined the "spaces in between" as "liminal" spaces. These are usually between social statuses, such as childhood and adulthood, but also such as "civilian" and "military" identities, or such as "novice" and fully fledged member of a professional community. The characteristic of these spaces is that those who inhabit them (for specific periods of time or, when in exile or a refugee for a time that can last the whole life) are stripped of external markers of their identity; they have no institutional recognition or no "public face". Not all "spaces in between" are therefore the same. They are the very specific effect of particular structures of relations of power.

Now, in this film, what is the interpreter "between"? On one hand there is a fictive African country and on the other a very real US city that the public is supposed to "recognise". Since 2001 New York has a heavy symbolic load with very different meanings. I think the film is much less about the job of Interpreting and much more about the "education" of the public within an ideological framework that clearly constructs a topography of "reality" and "fiction". And in the realm of fiction (imagination is about symbolisation, identification) things (places, persons, objects, etc) become inter-changeable. Why an Interpreter as the pivotal protagonist and not, say, a spy as in the old days of James Bond? Why is the actor a Woman? How is the viewer positioned? What is the audience supposed to "learn" from this film?

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