fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

The Linguists

Tonight may have been the VP debate, but it was also opening night of the All Roads Film Festival at National Geographic. Given the choice between hearing a debate between two people who are perpetually infected with hoof-in-mouth syndrome and seeing a movie about two linguists documenting endangered languages ... not exactly a difficult choice for me.

"The Linguists" proved to be an excellent documentary, following David Harrison and Gregory Anderson through several field trips to document languages in Siberia, Arizona, tribal regions of India, and Bolivia. Things don't always go so smoothly. For example, some of the speakers are very elderly, so a couple of the first speakers of Chulym they try to interview are nearly deaf. Another incident involves a man who claims to speak Kallawaya but really only knows a few words. It's all handled with a great deal of warmth and humor.

I'll admit to some bias since endangered languages are one of my pet subjects, but I think the film has broader appeal. It's always worth seeing people who are passionate about their interests.

There was a Q&A after the film with two of the directors, one of the linguists, and one of the speakers of an endangered Native American language. They mentioned that the film will be shown on PBS next year. But don't wait - go and see it at a film festival or other screening if you have any interest in the subject.

One possible down side is that the footage of Bolivia has added to my already lengthy list of places I want to travel to.

By the way, I had dinner at Vapiano before the screening. This is a local outpost of a German chain of Italian semi-fast food. It was surprisingly decent with pasta cooked al dente (and the sauce cooked right in front of you). The gimmicky part is that you get your food at various stations (e.g. one for pasta, one for pizza, one for salads, plus a bar) and swipe a card they give you at the entrance which records the prices. You pay the total when you leave. All very high tech, but it was convenient for a quick supper of fusilli with pesto sauce. I'd go there (or another of their local branches) again.
Tags: food pornography, language, movies

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