This week I watched the film Cloud Atlas, which is based on the David Mitchell novel of the same name. I recently read the novel and really liked it, so, I wasn’t keen to watch the movie. After all, film versions of much-loved novels rarely live up to expectations.
I was somewhat reluctant to watch it for another reason: I had read that in scenes set in a futuristic dystopian Korea, characters who are supposed to be Korean are played by Caucasian actors made up to look Korean. Why in this day and age would you use Caucasian actors for non-Caucasian characters? In a time when communication and travel between countries and continents is the easiest it has ever been, why couldn’t the film-makers hire actors with the right heritage or ‘look’ for the role?
What are the parallels between the loss of languages and the loss of biodiversity?
In We Haven’t Spoken For All Languages, Claire Bowern discusses the loss of languages around the world and the efforts to catalogue and ‘save’ these dying languages. The loss of languages is a concern as languages are the repository of so much more than just words, grammar and speech. As Bowern eloquently explains: