Loach film may be subtitled for English audience

Ken Loach's new film, set in Glasgow, may carry subtitles to help audiences follow the dialect of the local cast.

Sweet Sixteen, which tells the story of a teenager looking forward to his the release from prison of his drug-addicted mother, was shown with French and English subtitles when it was shown at Cannes.

Now, Icon Films, the makers of Sweet Sixteen, is considering taking similar precautions for the film's general release in the UK on 4 October. "Subtitles would give a non-Scottish audience a chance to adjust to the language without missing any of the story at an early stage," said Zak Brilliant, a spokesman for Icon in London. "We are still testing the idea on sample audiences and hope to have made a final decision by the end of the week."

Sweet Sixteen was shot in Greenock, near Glasgow, using amateur actors in the lead roles to retain a sense of urban authenticity.

Martin Compston, a newcomer to acting who was nominated for Best Actor at Cannes for his performance in the leading role, said the dialogue could be confusing to some audiences.

"We do talk fast and there is a lot of street patter, so the dialect is difficult to catch sometimes. I know some people have kicked up a fuss, but if subtitles help people understand the film and enjoy it more, then fair enough."

This is not the first time the director's films have been translated for an English-speaking audience. In 1998, My Name is Joe was shown at the Toronto Film Festival with subtitles and, when Trainspotting had to be re-dubbed for US audiences, "See you, Jimmy" was changed to "Yo, mother!"

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