26 June 2005

My first Russian movie

I finally made it to the public library on Saturday to borrow some International films. I found Solaris on DVD, as recommended by skarr (on my 31 May comments). The library also had The Thief and Stalker, but these two are on VHS, so I borrowed only the DVD film.

I watched this very long movie this afternoon. The weather was hot and muggy, so it was a good day to lay around and watch movies.

I would estimate that less than half of the movie has dialog. The rest of the time is filled with cinematic scenes. After about 30 minutes, I realized that I could switch to the English commentary during the dialog-less scenes. This was a great help to me because I needed help trying to figure out what I was supposed to be understanding from the film. Even if the film had been in English, it would have been over my head. Nevertheless, this was not an exerise in cinema appreciation for me; it was an exercise in listening to real Russian language.

I think that I understood about every 30th word. Each time that I heard something I recognized, was QUITE excited. It has been a surprise to me that I can pick out individual words so easily. While I was learning French, it was terribly difficult to differentiate individual words because I was not accustomed to a vowel dominant language. Russian, as far as my beginner's ear can tell, is a consonant dominant language. I think for this reason, I was able to pick out one or two familiar words from an entire dialog.

I will note this exercise as a mild success.


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