My first introduction to foreign shows was from a friend who recommended that I check out some underrated shows from other countries since I always used to complain about how a lot of shows on Netflix use recycled content or a very generic plot.
I started off by searching the international tv-shows section of Netflix and came across one show which had an interesting plot: a Spanish show named Elite. I took upon the challenge to watch this show in its native language which is Spanish instead of watching them in English. My reason for doing this was because I wanted to grasp the dialect of Spanish speakers. Sometimes, English translations don’t do any justice to the native tongue. I have experienced this firsthand after watching few Japanese anime shows.
How Did I Conquer The Language Barrier:
- Since Spanish is not my native language, I initially used subtitles to gently guide myself through the translations. I watched Elite with a Spanish friend who helped me grasp the common sayings and dialect as well. I would re-watch clips of certain scenes and repeat the Spanish conversation in my head to remember key references in the show which may appear later on. Overall, these combined techniques helped me overcome the language barrier.
What I Loved or Hated:
- Personally, I feel that the Spanish show Elite which I watched has a major edge compared to Western shows. Elite did an excellent job with story telling by creating suspense around a character’s death and taking an unexpected approach to reveal the culprit. Usually, I find that suspense gets killed very easily in Western shows once an obvious perpetrator is held accountable. Season 2 of Elite did not waste any time to grasp the viewers attention by starting off with the crime scene in the first few seconds of episode 1 and then taking viewers on a journey about how things came about to be. I have not seen this technique in the traditional shows I used to watch before since the plot gets extended over the course of multiple seasons.
What is the prime difference in comparison to your native cinema?
- The key difference I have noticed with foreign cinema is that I first became attracted to them due to the variations which I have seen in the story lines and character development. Some viewers may argue that Elite reminds them of Gossip Girl and Riverdale due to the cliques, thriller, and crime present in the show. Elite took a different approach towards the traditional teenage shows by adding more complex issues and diverse characters in the show.
What part of it I found most interesting?
- The most interesting part about this show is the fact that the character development will immerse you very deeply into the show. At first you may find yourself labelling certain characters as good, bad or neutral and then later on in the show you will find it difficult to decide who is what exactly. This dilemma made me realize that every character in the show had a unique journey which they overcame.
Difference in Filmmaking Process which Foreign Shows Incorporate:
- Key difference which I have noticed between foreign cinema and the native cinema which I have watched before is that foreign tv-shows waste no time with an overly extended plot and get right into the suspense build up process to maintain audience attention. This is a very respectable quality of the show Elite because they strived to maintain the same quality of suspense, character development, plot pace, and complexity around characters for both season 1 and season 2.