English translation: the cult of nature ideologized to the nth degree
Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.
You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs (or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
French to English translations [PRO] Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / Film Review
French term or phrase:une nature idéologisée à mort
Sofia Coppola, in her film 'Marie-Antoinette', is compared to M-A, in being like an adolescent who is out of touch with both body and her world, and two centuries down the track she is a 'grande bourgeoise californienne faisant joujou avec une nature ideologisee a mort tandis qu'a quelques kilometres la misere et la rage font guerre'.
I presume this refers to M-A's playing at shepherdesses, toying with an idealised Nature while only a few kilometeres off, extreme poverty and war are raging. But my question is, how is Coppola 'playing with an over-idealised nature'?: is it in her playing with the excessively historicised Marie-Antoinette, and is that why the reviewer has not capitalised the word 'nature'? Do the French ever capitalise 'nature' to represent the non-human world - what anglophones call 'Nature'? If the reviewer has deliberately chosen not to capitalise this word, this would shed light on what he is trying to express.
Some comments have taken this into account but I fear there is a confusion here. The nature here (and by the way, I agree with others saying that you shouldn't read too much in the absence of a capital n) isn't idealised but infused with ideology. I think what the author means is that Sofia Coppola doesn't show a natural (i.e. neutral, "given", not human shaped) Nature but rather Nature shown in a way that conveys ideological bias. I think this is the important point tha author is trying to make here.
fionn's comment about the 'still life' play on words makes sense: It was a common criticism of the film that it was like a 'still life' (or decor) and lacked any political suss (primarily due to the fact that she committed the ultimate sin in the eyes of the French press, of being an American who tried to make film about French history: see Godard 'Éloge de l'Amour' for some real polemic on this.)
As you stated the comparison with Marie-Antoinette is clear: Coppola (as a figure representing Hollywood?) idealizes nature (to death) in a kind of Californian cliche and just makes a kind of well designed 'still life' (as distraction), whilst nearby (I think it means to her as in Hollywood?) people are full of misery and rage which explodes into (figurative) war (whether the reviewer refers to inner city L.A. or Mexico is not clear).
Also I agree with both comments, that the capitalization of Nature would be an exception rather than a rule. So no need to read anything into it.
I agree that in this case a capital would be going too far, but English certainly has more tendancy to capitalise than French. I'm facing a similar problem with a description of "poetry", where the word in French is feminine (as here), so can imply an allegorical female figure descending like a muse. In English using a capital letter might seem excessive, but overcomes the neutral and general "it".
And yes "bourgeois" is still a term of derision. From the attitude displayed by the local "arty-farty" community, it seems to apply to anyone who enjoys any measure of success and doesn't vote Communist or smoke pot! =)
I'm not sure about the capitalization of 'Nature'; this would be as unusual -and deliberate- in English as in French, I would have thought, hence I wouldn't read anything into the absence of capitalization. However two things that occur to me are: whether there is an implicit word-play referencing 'nature morte' (still life) above and beyond the 'nature ideologized to death'; and secondly whether the reference to war a few kilometres away is to the Mexican border, which would be the only way to explain the identification the reviewer is making between M-A and Coppola.
Just some thoughts. But, crumbs, French film reviewers still railing at the 'bourgeoisie' ...! Poor Coppola!
Automatic update in 00:
3 hrs confidence:
over-philosophized way of being
I could be way off, as it's really late here.
nature = way of being
idéologisé à mort = over-philosophized
I hope this helps.
MatthewLaSon Local time: 22:13 Specializes in field Native speaker of: English PRO pts in category: 145