Thursday, April 21, 2016

R is for Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, dog

A family of six rabbit siblings adopts a stray puppy, and tries to teach him how to be a bunny instead of a dog. The dog, in return, teaches them how to be brave. Cuteness ensues.
A hetedik testvér (The Seventh Brother) is a 1991 feature length animated movie. It was made in a Hungarian-German collaboration, and once again, like most international cartoons, is available in English!

While a very cute story in itself, this movie is also an exercise in cultural translation.

I just noticed this as I was writing the post: The English version of the movie starts out very differently than the Hungarian one. In the version I was used to, a little girl asks her mother to tell (once again) the tale of how their puppy ended up with the family. In the English version, an owl with a strange accent talks through the fourth wall, promising to narrate the story of a very brave little dog.
Go figure.

The Hungarian movie begins with a tiny puppy being tossed out of a nameless car to the side of the road, and then the car drives away; it is clear that they wanted to gt rid of the puppy. It takes some time for the rabbits to convince him that his owners are not coming back. At the end of the movie, he is adopted by a little girl and her grandfather.
In the English version, however, the puppy starts out living with the girl and the grandfather, and he only gets lost in the woods because he is chasing a frog in a storm. At the end of the movie, he makes it back to his owners.

The music is also different - and I have to say, the English songs are a lot less nerve-grating than the Hungarian ones...

You can watch the Hungarian version, for comparison, here.

What do you think these differences say about cultural translation?


  1. It says to me that Hungarian film makers trust their children a lot more to deal with the realities of life and some people not being very nice, and the English version is coddling the viewers.
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  2. Brilliant post! Really Enjoyed reading it :D

  3. Poor puppy getting thrown out like trash. It's sad but true fact people can do this heartless thing.

  4. I wonder why the differences. Cultural sensitivities vary, I suppose.

  5. Maybe the English filmmakers thought children couldn't handle a puppy being thrown out of a car.