Chinese poster for "the Shape of Water"

in #movies4 years ago

I thought it'd be neat if I can guess/provide some translations + context! So the title is: 水形物語. 物語 is supposedly a literary form, but in this case I think it's apt to translate it simply as "story." But it's a "fancy" choice of word I suppose, like using "tale," "epic," or "narrative" instead of just using "story" you know.

And on the other hand, 水形 is composed of two words. 水 is water, and 形 is shape. So it's the shape of water!! So overall, the title just translates to "the story of the shape of water." So not much deviation!

I point this out because many times in Asia/Chinese-speaking countries they do come up with their own titles that maybe convey the same meaning, or often even completely new titles that fit the stories/themes of the movies but have little in common with the American/Western titles.

Taiwan, where my parents (and I, sort of) are from, is one of these examples where they frequently come up with their own original take at the titles of movies. In this case, it's 水底情深. Which translates to roughly, deep love at the bottom of the water. So it fits the movie, but it doesn't make the connection for the "shape" part of Del Toro's (or maybe it's the studio's) words of choice. (Edit: 情深 is also a poetic choice of word 'cause it's a part of several Chinese idioms, so it's fitting to be a part of a title of whatever thing.)

But what's also interesting is the secondary title at the bottom. 相濡以沫 is an old idiom/adage. It translates to "keeping each other moist with spit," which is like WOT? But it came from a story by the famous Chinese philosopher 莊子(Zhuangzi), where two fish are dying in a drying lake, and they are spitting on each other to try to keep each other alive. And it has come to describe two people desperately helping each other out however they could. So this seems very fitting for the film.

But as old sayings go, the phrase actually has a deeper/different interpretation. It's romanticized and its meaning far departed from its context. Zhuangzi was describing a sort of futile gesture. Taoism, which encompasses Zhuangzi's philosophies, really stresses being a part of nature, letting go, living easy and stress free, and all that jazz. So there's this double meaning here with the secondary title which I thought is very clever (because you know, even from the trailer, the film seems to portray this "protagonist(s) against the world story")!

Edit: the stamp below the title reads 鹿菏, who is the designer/illustrator of the poster. He's an artist himself.


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