west side in spanish

Is West Side Story Speak Spanish?

Steven Spielberg has recently released a modern rendition of his classic musical West Side Story on Disney+, following the same Romeo and Juliet theme as its 1961 predecessor. This version follows Maria (Rachel Zegler) and Tony (Ansel Elgort), who fall in love as rival street gangs battle for control of their city.

In December 2021, the film received widespread critical acclaim and generated some controversy due to how it depicted Puerto Rican characters.

The movie centers around a relationship between two young people, yet many of its characters are also gang members – something which the actors play up. Furthermore, some critics find their accents unnatural for Latinos to do onscreen.

Some Spanish-language dialogue isn’t translated into English subtitles, making it difficult for non-Spanish speakers to interpret what an actor is saying. For instance, when Maria says “!Y tu no eres mi jefe!” non-Spanish speakers must interpret her meaning through context and actress Rachel Zegler’s delivery.

Another instance in which Spanish is utilized in the film is when characters are in their apartment together. Whether they’re speaking to Anita (Ariana DeBose) and Lt Schrank (Corey Stoll), or making plans for a dance, they do so using Spanish.

Director Matthew Gray made a conscious choice not to subtitle scenes where characters speak Spanish, out of respect for both the language and its speakers.

This is beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it makes the movie more authentically Spanish-speaking for those who speak it.

Second, it demonstrates that the film does not attempt to whitewash or misrepresent Puerto Rico’s culture. It’s an effective way of showing Puerto Rico is still an integral part of America.

Third, it makes the movie more accessible to those who don’t speak Spanish. Without understanding the language, viewers will experience New York more authentically through this film.

Fourth, it makes the movie more accessible to people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. The original musical had very few queer characters and this is an effective way of showing that music isn’t just for straight people.

Fifth, it makes the movie more accessible to those without a deep knowledge of Shakespeare. This is an effective way to give those who don’t speak the language an idea of what the musical is about and its relevance within the larger narrative.

Finally, this makes the movie more accessible to those with limited knowledge of English language. For those who don’t speak it, it provides an excellent opportunity to gain insight into characters.

This movie is a must-watch for anyone interested in seeing how an updated Broadway musical could look. It’s visually stunning and emotionally stirring, leaving you wanting to watch it again soon.

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