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My Valentine
April 14, 2012 4:32 AM   Subscribe

My Valentine: Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp perform Paul McCartney's "My Valentine" in ASL.
posted by sonika (33 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
What is the point of using ASL in a video if half the time it's just closeups of the faces or blurs and fades obscuring the hands? It's a language - it's not just choreography.
posted by Gordafarin at 4:41 AM on April 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Holy god, this is some of the worst "ASL" I've seen. If I string together a bunch of words in French that I cannot pronounce or even use properly, I don't kid myself that I am speaking French. And ditto to the above. Yikes!
posted by laminarial at 4:48 AM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I found the link via Marlee Matlin's Twitter... so... given that neither Portman nor Depp sign ASL fluently, there are at least some members of the deaf/hard of hearing community who appreciate the choice to use ASL in making music videos, even if it's not perfect.
posted by sonika at 4:54 AM on April 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't know. Why shouldn't ASL (with occasional lip reading) be presented entertainingly?

I struggle all the time making out lyrics of great songs. I soon enough follow along.
posted by de at 4:54 AM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


More ASL = more accessibility. Yay!

ASL VIDEOS! NOT JUST FOR DORKS ON THE INTERNET ANY MORE!
posted by rmd1023 at 5:17 AM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone can be "yay! Inclusion! Visibility!" even if it doesn't take the perfect form.
posted by desjardins at 5:19 AM on April 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


And... She phones this in too. I'm starting to wonder if she can feel emotion.
posted by CarlRossi at 6:05 AM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought it was well done, and much more engaging, entertaining, and artful than much of the dreck created in the genre of "music video". Thanks for the link.
posted by HuronBob at 6:15 AM on April 14, 2012


Silly Little Glove Songs.
posted by sourwookie at 6:16 AM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Johnny Deep's voice has changed so much over the last years that I can't tell if this is McCartney singing or if Deep is doing a really good impersonation.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:18 AM on April 14, 2012


Cf
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:20 AM on April 14, 2012


What is the point of using ASL in a video if half the time it's just closeups of the faces or blurs and fades obscuring the hands?

Looks different and pretty.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:51 AM on April 14, 2012


More visibility! More accessibility! More more more!

Is it good? I don't think so, but my hard-of-hearing loved ones are going bonkers. I'm excited for them to see some ASL like this.

And yeah, if you were starving in the wilderness and someone brought you a half-eaten ham sandwich and a six of pineapple fanta, you'd probably take it. That don't make it cuisine, but it ain't nothing.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 7:11 AM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Is it good? I don't think so, but my hard-of-hearing loved ones are going bonkers.

Signing along?
This can only get better, more creative. It'll be great for ASL.
posted by de at 7:19 AM on April 14, 2012


He even does ASL with an English accent.
posted by chococat at 7:36 AM on April 14, 2012


So now I'm Marty. Just Marty. A girl named Marty.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:05 AM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd love to read comments from ASL speakers about this. Interpretive sign is all kinds of awesome, both for Deaf and hearing people. But this seemed awfully thin and fragmentary. Particularly odd that the whole thing is underexposed and only lit from one side.
posted by Nelson at 8:24 AM on April 14, 2012


Given the solid rock'n'roll tradition of slurring and mumbling it works for the genre even if not the song.
posted by idiopath at 9:07 AM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


"wanna see my sign language interpretation of wolly bully?'
* waves arms wildly while randomly flexng and extending digits *
posted by idiopath at 9:09 AM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joe Cocker?
posted by de at 9:14 AM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone do Louie Louie in ASL; maybe we'll finally understand the lyrics.
posted by desjardins at 9:28 AM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This video: a good idea, and also the point where I reached Natalie Portman saturation and could happily never see her face again.

Johnny Depp, we're cool.
posted by verbyournouns at 11:08 AM on April 14, 2012


I found the link via Marlee Matlin's Twitter

The most interesting line in Children of a Lesser God was when her character criticized William Hurt's signing as "boring". It was the first time I realized that ASL's status as a language included the ability to be uninteresting when communicating in it.

This moment of recognition came back to me while watching the video.

Nothing against the post or the idea for the video. It's just that Natalie Portman is a bad actor even in her native language, y'know?
posted by Trurl at 11:13 AM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't this isn't technically ASL; it's really more like signed English since they both appear to be interpreting the lyrics literally rather than reproducing them in ASL syntax. Someone who is more fluent than I am should please correct me if I am wrong though.

This thread looks like a great time to plug DPAN! Lots of really good ASL music videos. :)

This series isn't bad --- it just lacks the emotion I usually see from my friends who are deaf and that's a big part of a good performance.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apparently Depp's preparation for this gig was several nights of binge drinking.
posted by Max Udargo at 11:28 AM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Freebird in ASL would be interesting. Most of the time they'd just be standing still.
posted by jonmc at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2012


You assume they don't have air guitar in ASL.
posted by desjardins at 1:42 PM on April 14, 2012


Somewhat related: Deaf Student 'Speechless' After Obama Responds To Him In Sign Language
posted by zombieflanders at 6:42 AM on April 15, 2012


That's not ASL - it's a poor version of signed english. Absolutely expressionless!
posted by what's her name at 8:08 AM on April 15, 2012


you want expression, watch the video from zombieflanders' link, especially here.
posted by desjardins at 3:49 PM on April 15, 2012


It's been a long time since I studied ASL, but if I can critique this from a performance perspective, I would say the following:

A lot of ASL is in the face -- it's something that has sometimes been called "deaf face," and it means that the face is often very lively during conversation. The face is used as an expressive tool to an extent that seems exaggerated to non-ASL-speakers, because it is being used to emphasize what is being signed; if it were not slightly exaggerated, one might not get the sense that the face is commenting on the ASL, and instead think that the speaker is just having a regular emotional reaction. Both Portman and Depp are almost emotionless in this performance, which is quite alien to ASL.

A lot of attention is placed on the face, and so many ASL speakers keep their signs very close to the face. If you do long, sweeping gestures, as is done here, your forcing somebody's eyes away from the face, and I haven't seen that done very much. Most people I know who communicate in ASL lock eyes with the other person and take in the signing, to a large extent, through their peripheral vision. The gestures in this video are not easy to read with peripheral vision -- but, then, the faces are so unemotive that maybe this doesn't matter.

ASL has a pretty flexible grammar, so this performance seemed comprehensible to me. On the other hand, ASL interpretations of poetry often try to duplicate the playful sense of language, combining signs to give the sense of a rhyme, or allusion, or other literary devices. With songs, the signer will often try to present a sense of the ebb and flow of the song, and the rhythm of it. This is a pretty languid song, so the languid performances weren't inappropriate, but there wasn't much of a sense that it was a poem or a song they were interpreting. Compare their version with this ASL version of a Justin Timberlake song to see what it looks like when somebody catches the rhythm in their gestures, as well as expressing the song with facial expressions.

That being said, ASL is so rarely a part of the American mainstream that I can understand the excitement about this.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:06 AM on April 16, 2012


I struggle all the time making out lyrics of great songs. I soon enough follow along.

de, do you manage to follow along with the words that aren't even recorded? Because that's the equivalent situation here.

Yay, ASL is being addressed. Boo, they treated it as a Whitman's Sampler of foreign words, instead of communication with the audience who understands the language.

Grade: A on the idea. C+ on the delivery.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:05 AM on April 16, 2012


I struggle all the time making out lyrics of great songs. I soon enough follow along.

I never understood why mp3 players don't display the lyrics of the song you're listening to. This would seem especially easy on an iPhone. I have to look them up, and the first page of Google results are invariably spammy-looking sites with pop-ups and flash ads.
posted by desjardins at 9:22 AM on April 16, 2012


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