I missed most of the Oscars last night, though I was pleased to catch the presentation of the award for lifetime achievement to Ennio Morricone, a composer I very much enjoy and admire. I admit that I was a little surprised to find that a man known for writing scores for so many Hollywood movies doesn't speak English. Nonetheless, his heartfelt gratitude came across in his acceptance speech even before it was interpreted. And who knew Clint Eastwood could speak Italian? My respect for that man just grew even more.
I've always preferred watching foreign movies with subtitles, rather than listening to the dubbed versions. Part of it is the simple aesthetics of having mouths synchronized with dialogue, along with hearing the original actors' vocal expressions. But I also think the rhythm and sound of a particular language evoke certain moods in much the same way as a musical score. And although the quality of a screenplay may not be as sensitive to individual word choices as in opera or poetry, I believe most screenwriters do choose their words carefully, and this work deserves to be presented. True, it's a little more effort to read all the translations, but in my mind there's no question that it's worth it.