Nolte: Lack of Subtitles in Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Is Exclusion, Not Inclusion

20th Century Studios/Amblin
20th Century Studios/Amblin

“Director Steven Spielberg said he refused to use subtitles for the Spanish-speaking scenes in his epic West Side Story remake for the purposes of ‘inclusivity,’” Breitbart News reported this week.

He added that he wanted to “respect the language” and not give “English the power over the Spanish.”

In other words, anyone stupid enough to waste their money on a woke remake of an enduring Best Picture winner will have no idea what’s going on unless they’re bilingual.

That’s not an act of “inclusion.” It’s an act of exclusion.

In an English-language country, there’s nothing sensitive or appropriate or correct about excluding people who cannot speak or understand Spanish. Besides signaling his own virtue, all he’s doing is further dividing us and further “othering” his own Hispanic characters and actors.

The whole idea of it is just stupid, is an act of racial pandering that makes Spielberg look ridiculous.

What kind of sissy-neurotic is going to be offended over subtitles?

And this is not an artistic decision. This is not I Love Lucy, where subtitles would have undermined the joke of Ricky Ricardo becoming so exasperated he reverts to his first language. Instead, Spielberg’s decision is a political one, and one so stupid, he’s undermining his own art.

On top of telling anyone who’s not bilingual they are not entirely welcome, he’s violating the number one rule of filmmaking—which is clean dialogue. Audiences can deal with a picture that’s out of focus or poorly lit, or whatever. But your dialogue must be clear. People need to know what’s going on. Moviegoers understand the importance of dialogue and get frustrated if they miss something. Let me put it this way: if you make a movie and find yourself without the post-production funds to do both color timing and ADR, you always choose ADR. You always choose additional dialogue recording because that’s a priority over a pretty picture.

Not to belabor the point, but my wife and I are currently re-watching The Sopranos. There are scenes with subtitles, and not only when a foreign language is spoken, but when an actor speaking English cannot be understood due to a heavy accent.

This whole thing is Orwellian. Is there anyone reading this who would oppose Mexico or Spain or Italy or Portugal or France using subtitles when actors spoke English? Would you be in some way offended by this? The whole idea of it is ridiculous. Where did this controversy even come from?

Well, there is no controversy. Spielberg invented it. What we have here is just another attempt by the extreme left, and Spielberg is an extremist, to keep us divided, to create and incite racial resentment.

You’re not allowed to know what they’re saying. You’re not good enough. They’re better than you. You’re out. You’re excluded.

Trust me, Spielberg knows there is no better way to bring people together than through a common language.

But Spielberg doesn’t want that.

He wants us at each other’s throats. He wants to put us in separate piles. He’s opposed to the idea of the melting pot, which can only come about through communication.

West Side Story is supposed to be about overcoming our racial grievances and finding common ground through our shared humanity. Spielberg is deliberately defiling that, not for artistic reasons, but for political reasons.

If we can’t talk to one another, if we can’t understand one another, we will always be alien to one another.

That’s Spielberg’s goal here. He is a man of the left and the left wants us resenting one another.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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