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Oliver Stone's 'W.' translates differently in Mexico

May 21, 2009 |  9:02 am

Translations of the names of U.S. movies shown here in Mexico can be pretty strange and misleading.

But as writer and journalist David Lida points out on his website Mostly Mexico City, sometimes the translations can also be quite funny.

Hijo-de bush

"When films from the U.S. are shown in Mexico, exhibitors not only translate but frequently change the titles. In the Mexican adaptations, certain heated words are almost always utilized — among them death, murder, fatal, mortal, passion, desire, secret, terror, horror and so on. My ex-wife, who used to write movie criticism for the newspaper La Jornada, once marveled in print that they had not retitled Hamlet as My Son is an Incestuous Killer," writes Lida on his blog.

"Once in a while, however, the Mexican title is better than the original. Oliver Stone’s film about George W. Bush, 'W.,' has just opened here, and they’ve called it 'Hijo de … Bush.' For those who don’t understand Spanish, that would be translated as 'Son of a … Bush.' "

Anti-Americanism is practically a tradition in certain parts of Mexican society, and the unpopularity of George W. Bush in particular is apparently shared by people who decide how to translate movie names. 

Lida is a writer who has lived in Mexico City since 1990 and is author of the book "First Stop in the New World," described in this Los Angeles Times review by Reed Johnson as an "engaging and sanguine tour of the economic, social, cultural, political, culinary and sexual boulevards and back alleys of Mexico City." If you're planning a trip to Mexico City and you want to learn more than any tourist ever could, Lida's book, out soon in paperback, is a must-read.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: Lionsgate