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Let’s Bring Cannes Film Festival to You!

This week is the 75th Cannes Film Festival, an annual event which previews new films of all genres. The festival’s purpose is to draw attention to film, celebrating cinema at an international level.

Composed of films from all over the world, it is a truly international festival which as a language agency, is something that we love!

In honour of such an occasion we wanted to help bring the Cannes Film Festival to you! That’s why we’ve collated a list of some of our favourite international films.

So, whack out your fanciest frock, bust out the popcorn and get ready to commence your very own Cannes Film Festival!

1. Ochos Apellidos Vascos

Released in 2014 and directed by Emilio Martínez-Lázaro, Ochos Apellidos Vascos is one of the best Spanish comedies out there. Within six weeks of its release, it became the second biggest box office hit ever in Spain. Pretty impressive don’t you think?

Known as ‘Spanish Affair’ in English, the story centres upon Rafa and Amaia. The former is a proud Andalucian who has never left his native Seville and the latter is an equally proud girl from the Basque Country. Having discovered that Amaia left her purse in Seville following a night out with her friends, Rafa decides to pursue Amaia to her native Basque Country to return her belongings.

However, as a series of misunderstandings unfurl, Rafa is forced to feign a Basque identity, concocting an elaborate series of eight Basque surnames – hence the film’s literal English title: ‘Eight Basque Surnames’. As he becomes more and more entangled in his lies, a film of comedic farce ensues which is thoroughly entertaining.

Funny, light-hearted, and endearing, you’re bound to laugh with this film.

2. 기생충

Our second movie recommendation is the South Korean film Parasite. Not merely did this win the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, but it also won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It became the first non-English language film to win such an accolade.

Labelled as both a black comedy and psychological thriller, Parasite follows the poor Kim family who scheme to become employed by the wealthy Park family. Infiltrating their household by posing as highly qualified individuals, greed and class discrimination soon come to the fore and threaten the seemingly symbiotic relationship.

It’s perhaps a little darker than our previous pick. But if you’re looking for a film to sink your teeth into, this is certainly the one to watch!

3. El laberinto del fauno

It is unlikely that you’ve never heard of our next choice. Released in 2006 and directed by Guillermo del Toro, El laberinto del fauno (Pans Labyrinth in English) is a critically acclaimed Mexican film that premiered at the 59th Cannes Film Festival.

Exploring both a magical realist world as well as the horrors of Falangist Spain, El laberinto del fauno centres upon an 11-year-old girl named Ofelia. Ofelia travels with her pregnant mother to the countryside. Here she meets her new stepfather, a sadistic captain of the Spanish army.

Furthermore, upon arrival, she meets a faun in the centre of a labyrinth. A faun that informs her that she is a princess. Tasked to prove her royalty by performing three tasks, Ofelia enters a world of mythical beings that albeit frightening, bears little to the sadistic horrors taking place outside of the magical realm.

Del Toro’s work won a multitude of international awards including three Academy Awards. It is magical, distressing, and yet enticing. It is simply a film you must watch.

4. Les Choristes

Known as The Choir in English, Les Choristes is a 2004 French musical drama directed by Christophe Barratier.

The film centres upon a French boarding school in the late 1940s. Although its students and teachers are constantly at odds, everything changes with the arrival of a music teacher, Clément Mathieu. Starting a choir, Clément attempts to change the school’s reactionary policies. He particularly impacts a young boy named Pierre, someone who shows great musical promise.

Full of whit, drama, and stunning original music, you are bound to be encaptivated by Barratier’s work.

5. La vita é bella

La vita é bella (Life is Beautiful) is a 1997 Italian comedy drama directed by Roberto Benigni. The film is one of the highest grossing non-English language films of all time. It won the Grand Prix at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.

The film centres upon Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian bookshop owner who utilises his prolific imagination to protect his son from the reality of internment within a concentration camp. Inspired by the novel, In the End, I Beat Hitler, the film wields elements typical of both soul-stirring romantic comedies and grittier historical genres.

It is truly stunning. Upon watching the masterpiece, you will laugh, and you will cry. You will hate and you will love. La vita é bella is a film which sticks with you and rightly so. Its origins in history make the film tug at your heart strings more so than most, but despite the sorrow, one cannot deny that it truly makes you believe that life is beautiful.

What is more it makes your heart forever warm upon hearing the infamous words ‘Buongiorno Principessa’. It may make it ache a little too, but it will warm, nonetheless.


These are just a few of our favourite international films. We’d love to hear your top picks, however! Get in touch via social media to share your favourite foreign language films!

Eurovision Throwback

Craving a fix of dramatic ballads and smashing bops? Well in you’re in luck because very shortly the Eurovision Song Contest will be gracing our screens once more!

Yes, bust out the flags and get your groove on because it’s our favourite time of year. To get us in the Eurovision spirit, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite Eurovision songs.

Flags to represent Eurovision.

From heartfelt Spanish ballads to Danish bops, you’re bound to love these Eurovision hits!

1. Historyja Majho Zyccia by Naviband

Our first Eurovision throwback is Belarusia’s 2017 song entry by Naviband. After failing to qualify for the Grand Final in both 2015 and 2016, Naviband took to the stage to represent Belarus with this sweet and charismatic folk tune.

It only came seventeenth in the Grand Final, but we’re sure you’ll love hearing the story of their life.

2. Divlji Vjetre by Damir Kedžo

We’ll hold our hands up here and admit that our second Eurovision throwback isn’t technically a throwback. Chosen to represent Croatia at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, Damir Kedžo never received the opportunity to perform his song as the contest was cancelled due to the pandemic. Despite this however, it is still a fantastic song and one that should very much be listened to on repeat.

3. Øve os på hinanden by Fyr & Flamme

Next up on our list of throwbacks is Denmark’s 2021 entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Although it never made it to the Grand Final, only coming in 11th position in their semi-final, Fyr & Flamme’s song certainly is one that makes you want to bust your best moves. What is more, as the first song since 1997 to be sung entirely in Danish at the contest, it is equally a landmark song which should be praised.

4. Työlki Ellää by Kuunkuiskaajat

Our fourth choice of song is another hit that never graced the stage of the Grand Final. Representing Finland in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, Kuunkuiskaajat performed their traditional folk song and captured the hearts of many, coming 6th in the televote at their semi-final.

Fun, traditional and simple, Työlki Ellää is a breath of fresh air amongst the extravagance of Eurovision and for this reason it should be celebrated.

5. Voilà by Barbara Pravi

As France’s most successful entry in Eurovision since 1991, Barbara Pravi’s performance of Voilà is certainly worth a throwback to. Coming in second place with 499 points, France’s entry in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest explored the story of Pravi’s self acceptance. Minimalistic, elegant and emotionally charged, Voilà is stunning.

6. Sebi by Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl

With an English title of ‘Oneself’, Slovenia’s entry to the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is a lo-fi tune all about staying true to yourself. Performed by the duo Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl, this throwback is certainly a chilled one and is bound to make you feel all nice and relaxed.

7. Quédate Conmigo by Pastora Soler

Our final Eurovision throwback is Spain’s 2012 entry, Quédate conmigo. Powerful, heart-breaking and breathtaking, Soler’s performance is typical of the dramatic love ballads you see being performed at Eurovision. However, with vocals of an unbelievable calibre and a melody that has the potential to wiggle its way into your brain, you are guaranteed to be singing this song on loop once you’ve listened to it!


These are just some of our favourite Eurovision songs. We’d love to hear your favourite tunes, though! Get in touch via our social media to keep this discussion going!   

Easter Traditions from Around the World

Whether it goes by the name of Semana Santa, Pasqua or Ostern, Easter is certainly a holiday that is celebrated by many across the world. Regardless of whether celebrations assume a religious character or simply favour the consumption of chocolate eggs, it is certainly fun for all. 

However, besides religious gatherings and hunting for Easter eggs, did you know that there are a plethora of bizarre and wonderful activities that are held across the world in honour of Easter?

No? Well don’t fret. In this blog, we’re going to explore just a few of these traditions. Ranging from kite flying to crime novel reading, you’re certainly in for a treat!

1. Easter Kites in Bermuda

Every Good Friday, Bermuda holds a KiteFest. Taking place on Horseshoe Bay Beach, many gather to exhibit and fly their homemade and brightly decorated kites.

Confused as to what this has to do with Easter? The story goes that a local Sunday school teacher taught pupils about Christ’s ascension by flying a kite which represented Jesus.

2. Colourful Carpets in Antigua

In preparation for the Good Friday procession, artists cover the streets with colourful carpets in Antigua, Southern Guatemala. Artists make the carpets out of flowers, sawdust, fruit, vegetables and sand. Normally, the scenes depict something which holds personal meaning to the artist.

3. Easter Breadmaking in Poland

It is tradition in Poland for women to bake a traditional Easter bread. Although men may wish to participate, the tradition states that if a man were to get involved, their moustache would turn grey, and the dough wouldn’t rise! It’s a strictly female activity, therefore.

4. Easter Fireworks in Florence

Known as ‘Scoppio del Carro’, this tradition takes place in Florence, Italy on Easter Sunday. It translates to mean ‘Explosion of the cart’ and the tradition sees people dress in fifteenth century clothing, fill a cart with fireworks and lead it through the streets.

Once it reaches the Duomo, the cart stops and the Archbishop of Florence lights a fuse during the Easter mass. This creates a beautiful firework display. The tradition is said to bring a good harvest and it dates back to the First Crusade.

5. Omelettes in Haux

On Easter Monday, a giant omelette is served up in the main square of Haux, France. Feeding up to 1,000 people, the omelette uses more than 15,000 eggs!!!

The reason for this tradition is Napoleon. It is believed that when Napoleon travelled through the south of France, he stopped in a small town and ate omelettes. Given that he enjoyed the omelettes so greatly, he asked the village to gather all of their eggs and make a gigantic omelette for his entire army the next day. We’re not entirely sure why it had to be one gigantic omelette, but you can’t deny that it makes for a good tradition!

6. Egg Rolling in Scotland

On Easter Sunday, many families in Scotland participate in an egg rolling contest. After decorating their hard-boiled eggs, the families roll their eggs down a hill. The egg that travels the furthest distance without breaking is the winner.

7. Easter Crime Novels in Norway

And finally, we have perhaps the most unique tradition yet: reading crime novels at Easter.

In Norway, Easter is an incredibly popular time to curl up and read a crime novel. ‘Why?’ you might rightly ask. Well, this tradition dates back to 1923 and to a remarkably successful publicity stunt. On the 24th of March, an Oslo newspaper printed the headline: ‘The train to Bergen was robbed last night’. Upon reading this title, the news of a supposed robbery spread like wildfire.

However, the headline wasn’t true. It was rather the title of a novel written by Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie. Although no robbery had taken place, the novel received a large degree of publicity and thus acquired a large readership. The association between Easter and crime fiction was consequently born.


We hope you enjoyed reading about all of these Easter traditions! We’d love to hear some of your favourite traditions though! Get in touch via our social media channels to keep this discussion going!

Fancy learning about more cultural events? Why not check out our February Festivities blog or our post exploring Geneva’s tradition of Escalade?

February Festivities

Feeling sad that the festive season is over? Well, at Web-Translations we want to help you turn that frown upside down by exploring some of the festivities February has to offer!

Yes, don’t be fooled, February offers more than simply Valentines Day. All over the world, people are celebrating special days with loved ones and eating mountains of traditional food.

In this blog, we’re going to introduce you to a few of our favourite celebrations.

Chinese New Year

Most of you will have heard of Chinese New Year. Also known as the Lunar New Year, it is the festival that celebrates the beginning of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.

Although the celebration traditionally lasts for 16 days, this year, the Chinese New Year will specifically fall on Tuesday 1st February, and it will welcome the year of the Tiger. (You can read more about the Year of the Tiger here: https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/tiger.htm)

There are lots of traditional activities that can take place during the New Year celebrations. For example:

  • ‘Sweeping away the dust’: In other words, on the 24th day of the 12th lunar month, it is custom to clean your house.
  • Decorations: Despite some choosing to decorate their houses before the festival, many choose to decorate on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Moreover, these decorations are often red. This is because red is thought to warn off negativity and promote prosperity.
  • Offerings: It is custom to offer sacrifices to your ancestors to show respect and piety.
  • Reunion Dinner: The New Year’s Eve reunion dinner is a “must-do” dinner with all family members reuniting. Traditional cuisine includes fish, dumplings, Nian Gao (sticky rice cake), and spring rolls. Following the dinner, children receive red envelopes containing money in order to bring good fortune.
  • Fireworks: On Chinese New Year’s Day, there is a cacophony of fireworks all around. It is also common to watch lion and dragon dances.
Tiger to represent February Festivities

Candlemas

Candlemas is a public holiday in Liechtenstein, held on the 2nd of February. Also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, the celebration is a Christian holiday that commemorates the presentation of Jesus Christ at the temple.

Although it is customary for Christians in some countries to remove their Christmas decorations on 12th Night, many choose to wait until Candlemas to remove their decorations. Furthermore, it is tradition to take a candle to church. This candle is then blessed and brings families luck throughout the rest of the year.

La Chandeleur

On the 2nd of February, France observes ‘La Chandeleur’. This is also known as Candlemas, but its origins are in an older pre-Christian holiday which celebrates harvest and marks the mid-point of Winter.

Nowadays, the day centres upon both of these traditions, but it also centres upon the crêpe! Yes, you heard right, the crêpe is the pièce de résistance! Embodying a circular shape, it represents the sun and the circle of life. The act of eating and sharing food also honours the pope giving out food to the poor every year.

Furthermore, one cannot forget that it’s a very superstitious day. To foresee financial luck, some believe that you should hold a coin in one hand and flip the crêpe in another without it falling.

Pancakes to illustrate February Festivities.

El Entroido de Verín

This celebration is a Galician festival that occurs in the locality of Verín each year. The Pagan celebration dates back centuries and it bids farewell to the cold days of winter. With the arrival of Christianity, it was then mixed with saying farewell to meat before Lent.

This year, festivities will begin on the 17th of February (a day known as Xoves de Compadres) and end on the 1st of March (Martes de Entroido). Different days see different activities take place but some of the principal activities include flour fights, masked balls, and processions with fireworks.

It truly is one of the most vibrant and exciting festivals. From cigarrones (masked men who run through the town encouraging people to join the celebrations) to fariñadas (flour fights in the Plaza Mayor), you can’t help but be enticed by the celebrations.

Maslenitsa

Seven weeks before Easter are the week-long Maslenitsa festivities in Russia. Once again combining the Pagan tradition of marking the transition between winter and spring with the Christian tradition of feasting before Lent, Maslenitsa takes place between the 28th February and the 6th of March.

Also known as Butter Week and Pancake Week, Maslenitsa brings a range of activities. For example:

  • Children make Maslenitsa dolls from straw and old clothes which are then burned on the final day. People then jump over the bonfires made as a result.  
  • It is custom for everyone to make and eat blinis, which are traditional pancakes.
  • Many go sledging and of course it wouldn’t be Maslenitsa without lots and lots of singing!!!

These are just five of the many, many festivities that occur across the globe in February. We’d love to hear what festivals are celebrated in your culture throughout February, though! Get in touch via our social media.

A name of two halves? Not in Brazil…

It’s difficult to argue that football is not a truly international sport. The conventions used around the world to name players, however, vary widely, and serve as a useful reminder that you can’t directly translate one word into its foreign equivalent. Different cultures express things in different ways – in fact they often express subtly different things full stop. In trying to explain the differences we come across a number of the social, cultural and economic factors that influence language.

When I was at primary school there was a persistent belief in the playground that Brazilian footballers only had one name. I understand where it came from – some of the greats have been known by one word: Pelé, Zico, Ronaldinho (Ronaldinho Gaúcho in Brazil). (more…)

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