Very Bad Trip movie poster

French Bluff

Yesterday we went to the movies. American Bluff. Maybe you know this movie by the name American Hustle. Most of the American movies go by different names in France. This can sometimes get confusing on IMDB or when your friends talk about movies they have seen and you’re feeling stupid since you recognise nothing. Or when you’re looking to rent a movie on your TV and you can’t find the latest George Clooney. So keep in mind, most of the English titles are changed in French ones. Such as “The Wolf of Wallstreet” is the same movie as “Le loup de Wallstreet”.

But… American Bluff is also an English title, why not keep the original English name American Hustle? Another example; the Wolfpack trilogy “The Hangover” in France goes by the title “Very Bad Trip”. I came up with this theory that maybe because most of the French people don’t pronounce the “h”, movie titles with this letter such as Hangover and Hustle are being transformed in something more pronouncable.* Although the Hunger Games was not changed in “Les jeux de faim” or “Starve or die”. Pourquoi pas?

Sharing these ideas with my French friends they thought that the non original English titles sound more recognizable to them and therefore are more appealing. Hangover for example is not a word that is commonly used in France. This experience goes by a different name.

However, foreign or French, we all know the feeling. When just a drink or apèro ends the next morning. The feeling that your head might explode combined with an enormous thirst, a disgusting taste in your mouth and the over-sensibility to sound and light. Maybe you’re having trouble remembering what happened the night before but you’re confident you made some decisions you now regret. Sounds familiar? The French don’t call this a hangover. This phenomenon here is known as triper. Hence a Very Bad Trip.

Personally, I have other associations with the verb triper and bad trip sounds even worse. Maybe that’s because I’m from Amsterdam and also why I prefer a hangover over a very bad trip.

*Have you ever been in a French Quick or MacDo? When ordering a cheeseburger, it’s all good. The fun begins when you try to order an “hamburger”. Seriously, try loosing the “h” to blend in in France.

Photo by Eyton Z under CC license

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