Reading and Understanding Russian on the Red Carpet

While in Russia, I was a guest of the VOICES Film Festival in Vologda. VOICES stands for the Vologda Independent Cinema from European Screens. It is an esteemed film festival highlighting directors and films from Europe.

A few of the films were sub-titled in English, but most were sub-titled in Russian. My most memorable Russian language moment occurred at the film festival. My friend Ramil and I were watching “Love,” which is a French film by award winning director Michael Haneke. I was totally involved with reading the sub-titles while watching the film. After about 20 minutes of reading Russian quicker than I had ever done before, all of a sudden I realized that I was reading in Russian and just “getting it.”

I had the context of what was happening on screen, but this was the first time in my life that I was not ‘translating,’ I was just reading Russian and understanding what I read!

Ramil and I talked for hours about the excitement of being at the festival, seeing this amazing film, and my Reading and Understanding Russian without consciously trying to translate! Ramil had studied English for many years and remembered when he had a similar moment.

It was an amazing evening on so many levels, but my understanding the Russian written language on such a high level was one of those moments in life that I will always remember.

-Stephen D.

two men red carpet

Stephen (right) and Ramil (left) enjoy the VOICES Film Festival in Vologda.

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