Friday, March 31, 2017

English Language Movies in Florence

Living abroad in a city whose main language is not your own can sometimes leave you feeling isolated. It is natural for students and even established expats to feel homesick and long for a taste (and sound!) of a place where your language is dominant. If you are living in short term rentals in Florence as a student or professional, the linguistic landscape will vary between beautifully strange and terrifyingly incomprehensible. No matter your level of competence in Italian, there are just some things that do not translate between different cultures.

As a new or temporary Florentine, there is no quick fix for the language barrier you will experience. But for those days when English would be music to your ears, consider visiting the gorgeous old Odeon Theatre, which shows movies in their original languages (most often English), typically with Italian subtitles. For native English speakers, retreating into the dark space of a movie theater showing English language movies can be like going “home” for a couple of hours, which is sometimes enough!

With the possibility to stream movies on one’s own computer, you might wonder why it would matter that original language programming is offered. First of all, the Odeon shows many of the major Hollywood films currently being discussed by your Facebook friends. There is also something special about experiencing a film in a theater setting that cannot be recreated on your laptop, iPad or phone. Several nights a week, it is possible to surround yourself with the sound of original language cinema via the Odeon Original Sound Programme.

If you are accustomed to viewing foreign films with subtitles, it can come as a shock that most Italian theaters show movies from abroad with an Italian “soundtrack” — the original language dubbed into Italian. You will not hear Tom Hanks’ voice in the new adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel Inferno, but rather the voice of an Italian actor speaking his lines. Subtitles are not for everyone, but dubbed movies can be disconcerting when you expect the voices of English-speaking actors and actresses.

The Odeon is worth visiting even if you have chosen Italian immersion as a way to learn the local language. Centrally situated near the Piazza della Republica in the Piazza Strozzi, the theater occupies the space of a 15th century palace behind a 1920’s style exterior. A gorgeous stained glass dome filters the light on sunny days which creates a kaleidoscope of color over the screening space. It is sometimes more magical than the movies!

Besides its architectural charm, the Odeon Theater has practical appeal. It is easily accessible no matter where within the city you may live, for those shopping for homes for sale in Florence. It is extremely friendly to students, with a discount on the already low price with student identification cards. As an added bonus, you are permitted to bring alcoholic drinks into the theater, so you can save your money for another film.

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