domingo, 16 de febrero de 2014


When I saw the Castilian dub of Frozen for Christmas, I drank the whole film like a warming draught of Napoleon Cognac. The trolls, the royals, the loyal and stalwart yet insecure Kristoff... even the foreign dignitaries that show up at court. Including that dark diplomat (clearly established as a foreigner in Scandinavia) who spoke French and Castilian with a French accent.

Faux français
In the original (as listed in the end credits), he was the Spanish Dignitary! Zut alors (or, as the French would rather say, Oh la vache! [c'est à dire, "Holy cow!"])!
This being the very first Castilian (European Spanish) character in a Disney film. The supporting cast of the previous films had hitherto only contained Latino characters, whose background was given in the dub through the Castilian/Latino dialects dichotomy (shibboleths such as lisping or lengthening vowels mark the diatopic variations).
A Mariachi mutt...

...or a Cuban crab, for instance.
Castilian characters in the European Spanish dubs of Anglophone media tend either to be changed into Latinos (Fawlty Towers's Manuel became a cuate in Hotel Fawlty) or into speakers of another Italic/Romance language, most commonly Italian or French (the "Franish" Dignitary in Frozen, to prove the latest example).
When there is a language barrier in the film, Spanish is most frequently translated as another Romance language. For instance, as Italian in Los Goonies (to which I have consecrated a post).
"He's from Barcelona."
"Well, I thought he's from Jalisco."
"Have you payed heed to his accent?"
"In which version?"
The only exceptions being Íñigo Montoya (in The Princess Bride/La princesa prometida), Buzz Lightyear's Spanish Mode (renamed Modo Romántico!), and Puss in Boots or Gato con Botas (in the Shrek film series): the former remains Castilian due to his Basque-sounding name (he is characterized as a brash and fight-loving swashbuckler, evoking the Basque regional stereotype [regarded in Spain] to a Spanish audience); the latter, due to his voice actor (in English original, Latin American and Castilian dubs), the celebrated Anthony Flags... Antonio Banderas. Buzz's "Modo Romántico" is clearly an over-the-top parody of the Latin Lover stereotype.

Egun on. Me llamo Íñigo Montoya. Tú mataste a mi aita...
En la Anglosfera, el gallardo latino.
En España... el gallardo vizcaíno (¿bizkaíno?).

"Miau, de Benito Pérez Galdós."
"No, no, no! Not Galdós!"
"Aún así, me recuerda a una novela en nuestro idioma, titulada Miau..."

In the latest installment of the Toy Story film series by Pixar (id est, Toy Story 3), Buzz Lightyear is reset as a dashing Castilian Casanova, the so-called Spanish Mode, which became Modo Romántico in the European Spanish dub. The Castilian accent was retained, but Buzz's voice actor (the legendary cantaor, or flamenco singer, Diego el Cigala!) compensating it by acting over the top, flamboyant and dashing.
Buzz Añoluz, Modo "Latin-Lover" Romántico
Castilian and Latino characters, Italians and sometimes the Southern French, are all depicted in Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, and Germanic media as "without the ability to self-regulate, and in serious need of paternal supervision and cultural refinement [···] fast-talking, violence-prone, sexually predatory, and criminally inclined [···] who overestimate their own prowess in predictably dramatic fashion. [···] motivated entirely by passions and carnal desires, and thus incapable of self-restraint." 
The same applies to counterpart cultures in fictional universes, for instance the Dornish in Westeros.
Consider the following joke:
Q: How many Dornishmen does it take to start a war?
A: Only one.
There is also the folk song "The Dornishman's Wife":
The Dornishman's wife was as fair as the sun,

and her kisses were warmer than spring.
But the Dornishman's blade was made of black steel,
and its kiss was a terrible thing.
The Dornishman's wife would sing as she bathed,
in a voice that was sweet as a peach,
But the Dornishman's blade had a song of its own,
and a bite sharp and cold as a leech.
As he lay on the ground with the darkness around,
and the taste of his blood on his tongue,
His brothers knelt by him and prayed him a prayer,
and he smiled and he laughed and he sung,
"Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done,
the Dornishman's taken my life,
But what does it matter, for all men must die,
and I've tasted the Dornishman's wife!"
In the latest season of Game of Thrones, Dornish Lover Oberyn Martell (played by Pedro Pascal) lived up to his reputation as a bisexual sexoholic, who cohabited with his partner and has had countless romances. His untimely death will lead, in the next season, to the entrance of hitherto neutral Dorne into the struggle for power.

Oberyn, we hardly knew you...
(Rumour has it that Andalusia (southern Spain) will stand in for Dorne on screen. Let's hope this becomes real and the producers don't turn to Croatia once more...)

The passionate Mediterranean versus the cool Northerner, what is called the "Saxon/Latin" divide. The Spaniard, Italian, Latino, or Dornishman in fiction of a Germanic language is, in the "hierarchy of races", below the more composed, fairer Northern Westerners, and above the non-Caucasians. It's a liminal position (liminal: on a threshold or boundary). Exotic, yet familiar. Sensual, yet not savage. More childish, yet not completely foolish.
I once had a conversation about this divide in the Occident, and this conversation is to be transcribed in this blog. It contains these words:
Una de las dos Europas te partirá el corazón.

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