“XXXX” is a series of digits – 1089 is “Mind-bending Movies”, for example; while 354 is “Movies Starring Matthew McConaughey” – currently a genre of one film.
Not all numbers will result in a subgenre, and given Netflix’s ever-changing algorithms, they might move around every now and then, while there may be regional differences meaning that some codes don’t work.
Codes for the main genres are available here. At the foot of the list is a link to a list of even more.
As I listen more to French singers performing songs they’ve translated from English, I’m becoming fascinated by the inherent complexities of that process. Even in a proper translation, a song’s rhyme and poetic qualities may suffer.
In a poor translation, a song’s meaning can be completely lost. “It’s like searching for the best path through the forest which must satisfy several conflicting criteria,” says Russian translator Stanislov Korotyginit, “It must be the shortest path, the nicest and the safest. And you have to meet the wolf on the way.”
Imagine translating the lyrics of Cole Porter. Porter’s iconic cleverness is sometimes found in his rhyme, other times with his vernacular and idioms. When Porter writes, “heaven knows, anything goes” (simple rhyme, right?) Porter expects that we understand both these expressions. A literal translation wouldn’t work. Heaven knows what? Anything goes…where? (The classic Monty Python “Anything Goes” sketch is an example of hearing the lyrics “anything goes” with fresh ears.)
Kurt Vonnegut wrote that in bad translations, “jokes are commonly the first things to go.” Vonnegut was referring to translating the Gospels, but I’m sure his theory applies to music as well. Porter wrote lyrics often with his tongue firmly in cheek. His music performed without his lyrical cleverness and randy wordplay would be like being served a Crème brûlée in a hot dog roll.
“You’re a rose, You’re Inferno’s Dante. You’re the nose On the great Durante.” (Porter)
On Ne Va Nulle Part … Or Are You?
The French singer Francis Cabrel recorded a terrific LP of Bob Dylan covers entitled Vise le Ciel. Listening to French versions of these Dylan classics, I realize even Dylan’s song titles would make for a difficult translation. Cabrel translates the song title “A Simple Twist of Fate” as “Un Simple Coup du Sort.” Google, however, translates it “Un Simple Torsion du Destin.” Which is correct? Listen to Cabrel’s “On Ne Va Nulle Part” (“You Ain’t Goin Nowhere”) and you know Dylan is in good hands.
Sometimes the sound of the word is most important to its meaning. In “Like a Rolling Stone” Dylan cries, “Ah, how does it feeeel?” Cabrel didn’t translate this song, but if he did, would he sing “Ah, Comment vous sentez-vous?” Which word would get the emotionally punctuation that Dylan’s “feel” gets? If vous gets the punch, then the meaning is lost.
Gershwin wrote “You say potato, I say puh-tot-oh,” first deciding to “call the whole thing off,” then finally concluding “better call the calling-off, off.” How would one translate that silly yet complex idea into French? Heaven knows.
“The Sound Comes With the Word”
In the YouTube clip below, one of my favorite young singers, Brazil’s Mallu Magalhães talks a bit about the translating process, and about how important the sounds of the words are. Of course, with her beautiful Brazilian accent she could be explaining the complexities of the Brazil tax code and I grin and nod “Yes Mallu, let’s call the whole thing off.”
How important is it to understand what the singer is expressing lyrically? There are songs I’ve loved containing words I’ve never understood. “Dulaman” is a great Celtic worksong performed in the Irish Gaelic language by the band Altan. This track was stuck on my Toyota’s cd player for years before I learned what the song was about. I imagined the lyric was about a lad and his sweetheart. In actual fact, Dúlamán is about seaweed.
Here’s another beautiful song in the bossa nova tradition, performed by Mallu Magalhães. I don’t have a clue what this song’s about. I doubt it is about seaweed, but I don’t much care. I love it.
Here in the colonies, Bridget St John remains one of the more under-appreciated artists in the British Folk genre. Her voice is not as sweet as Sandy Denny’s, nor possessing the huskiness of latter-day Marianne Faithful, but combines a small scoop of each with a delicious melted Nico topping.
In England during the 1970s, she worked with Kevin Ayers, John Martyn and Mike Oldfield. Her first album, Ask Me No Questions was released in 1969, and during the early seventies, she shared Folk charts and BBC radio time with Sandy Denny, Nick Drake, Cat Stevens and Fairport Convention.
Born in Surrey, England, she lived periodically in London, Aix-en-Provence, France, eventually landing in Greenwich Village, New York, only to decide to take the next 20 years off from performing.
This small concert made for French television in 1970 is quite wonderful. Listen, and appreciate Bridget’s je ne sais quoi.