With so much in the news recently about the emergence of a more nationalistic and ‘anti-diversity’ mood in several countries, a report in The Economist this week seems to suggest less fear of foreign language amongst English-speaking TV and film-viewers.
According to the Economist “There was a time when film and television producers thought that English-speaking audiences were allergic to subtitles. Such was the fear of foreign languages that successful films such as Sweden’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and television series like France’s “The Returned” were remade entirely for Anglophone viewers.”
However, recent successes for subtitled Scandinavian detective series (known as Scandi-Noir among fans) in the UK and elsewhere, suggest audiences are becoming more at ease with foreign-language programming. The global success of Netflix’s ‘Narcos’, which is predominantly Spanish-speaking, have also shown English-speaking audiences willing to accept and enjoy this type of programming.
According to The Economist Netflix is now looking for the same US and UK success with a new Spanish language series about the “Mexican first lady who is on the run following the mysterious death of her husband, the president. The title, which means “ungovernable”, could be taken to refer to the gutsy primera dama as much as it describes the lawless republic.”
It remains to be seen whether this particular series is successful, but openness to ‘foreign’ language media suggests that some part of Anglo-Saxon culture is as least as open to global cultural influences as it has ever been.