[New Publication] Recontextualizing Nouvelle Vague cinema in Québec: Leonard Cohen, subtitler of Claude Jutra’s À tout prendre (under CC BY 4.0)

By Jorge Díaz-Cintas | University College London
Francis Mus | Ghent University | University of Antwerp


In this contribution, we examine the relationship between text and context in multimodal translation practices by focusing on the Québécois film À tout prendre (1963; directed by Claude Jutra) and its English version, Take It All (translated by Leonard Cohen). The first two sections provide contextual information, while Section 3 is dedicated to a comparative analysis, in which a more central role is given to the film itself and to the archival documents (such as draft versions of the French script and the English translation). On the whole, Take It All results from a complex interplay of factors: the overuse of reduction (condensation and deletion) despite the absence of spatial or temporal limitations; Cohen’s limited translation experience, combined with his influential profile as an artist; and the assumed intended target audience. The subtitles serve as an ancillary device, offering a minimalist representation of the original dialogue. Regarding the linguistic transfer itself, no misunderstandings have been encountered, although the translation can be said to diverge substantially from the original in numerous respects. Consequently, the English version exhibits a less intricate network of interrelationships and it can be argued that the subtitles have not significantly contributed to the film’s internationalization journey.