Cinématographe (English translation)

  • Artist: Boris Vian
  • Song: Cinématographe 2 translations
  • Translations: English #1, #2
English translationEnglish


Versions: #1#2
For the first time when I was six, my father took me to the cinema,
And I thought it was the most amazing thing of all.
Funny dudes on the screen, mustachioed swashbucklers,
Sometimes out-of-the-blue they’d kill each-other.
A piano sets the tone,
Guillaume Tell or the wonderful ‘Le Trouvere’, 1
The audience trembled, getting all invested into these folks,
It was cheap, well-worth the three francs.
Beautiful like love,
Blonde like the day,
In up on the screen, the dream girl kisses,
Timidly do the hands join in, holding one-another.
[The] Damsel is here again, 2
While in the room everyone’s hearts race,
The coach she thinks she’s safe in,
Broke its axel and crashed into the Earth.
Now the crook can get his hands on,
Her money, oh how tragic!
Shows over, we’ll see you next Wednesday!
But now my father can no longer take me to the cinema,
He checked out the brown bread and cashed in his chips, 3
I soon met a femme fatale, an amazing chick, a top girl,
She loves going to the Wednesday showings.
Of course, it's always inside the cinemascope,
It’s always spinning and galloping,
And it’s the same as always, replete with uncouth cowboys and outlaws,
Vigilantes here to shove their foot into their mouth.
Watch out, Gary Cooper,
He's approaching Hell’s ravine,
Be careful, poor fool, Alan Ladd is not far from here,
500 meters away, lodging a ball into crouton bread. 4
In the meantime,
I softly wrap my arm around her's,
The seat she thinks she’s safe in,
Oh golly, don’t stop me from trying to kiss her!
I couldn’t tell if Gary was winning,
But they'll always play it at the cinema,
Remember, my love, we stayed for a year.
And we had a lot of kids!
  • 1. I think it’s a play from my research.
  • 2. Yes, I know, lynch me.
  • 3. His dad died. This is just a ludicrous metaphor because Silenced gave me permission due to the line (being an idiom/metaphor) in French was a bizarre one.
  • 4. Could be a movie reference, correct me if I’m wrong.
thanked 3 times
Open to suggestions to improve the translation
Submitted by Vladimir4757Vladimir4757 on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 17:08
Last edited by Vladimir4757Vladimir4757 on Fri, 07/08/2020 - 10:24


Translations of "Cinématographe"
English Vladimir4757
Idioms from "Cinématographe"
sandringsandring    Tue, 04/08/2020 - 16:47

The source lyrics have been updated. Please review your translation.

silencedsilenced    Wed, 05/08/2020 - 17:39

If you allow me, Nadia, I'd like to fix a couple of slight spelling issues.

sandringsandring    Thu, 06/08/2020 - 08:39

Be Vladimir's guest. It's his transcript. French spelling is not my cup of tea. You know that, Pierre, don't you? Regular smile

silencedsilenced    Thu, 06/08/2020 - 08:57

I saw you were the last editor, so I'd rather ask before wreaking havoc, just in case Regular smile

Vladimir4757Vladimir4757    Tue, 04/08/2020 - 17:10

Lyrics have been updated and make more sense now. Should make a lot more sense

silencedsilenced    Wed, 05/08/2020 - 18:48

You did pretty well. Just a few things:

moustachus -> could be "old hands/pros" but "moustachioed" is also possible
fiers-à-bras -> "swashbucklers" (more generally "braggarts")

'ils trouvent un cheveu dans l'plat -> the original expression is "tomber comme un cheveu sur la soupe" (coming out of the blue, usually for an unpleasant event). The idea is, they're just looking for an excuse to pick a fight.

le grand air du Trouvère -> That's Verdi's il trovatore, I guess the tune is this bit?

se passionnait pour ces braves gens -> "got all worked up about these good people" or something?

on en avait pour ses trois francs -> more like "well worth the three francs" or "worth every cent(ime) of the three francs (entry fee)"

Un rêve est passé sur l'écran... -> the previous lines both refer to the dream girl on screen and the cuties about to be kissed in the theatre Regular smile
"a dream (girl) flashed on screen and surreptitiously in the theatre hands grope for each other and bashfully join"

The damsel is here again -> that's pretty good. Just rework the previous stanza and you'll be spot on.

La voiture -> that could also be a coach. I guess it would add a bit of flavour?

Car il plante ses choux là-bas pas loin de Saint Cul-Cul Fa -> that's a nonsensical metaphor to say his father kicked the bucket. I hereby authorize you to think up any suitably delirious English equivalent Regular smile

une Dalila, -> like in the Bible, a kind of femme fatale Regular smile
une drôle de môme, -> amazing chick
une fille comme ça -> a top girl
all this is very dated (from the 30-60's), none of it is still used today.

Bien sûr c'est devenu le cinémascope -> of course it's all in Cinemascope now (the song is from the 50's, lit. "of course this has become Cinemascope")

fourrer leurs grand pieds dans le plat -> from "mettre les pieds dans le plat", like "put your foot in your mouth", or "step right in it"

Gare, gare, gare, gare, gare ->"gare" is like "prends garde" (watch out!), it's not about a station.
"watch out, Garry Cooper is nearing Hell's Ravine" Regular smile

il loge une balle dans un crouton de pain -> I don't think it's a reference, the bread crumb is probably just a small object with a convenient rhyme.

pendant dans c'temps là -> "at the same time" or "in the mean time"

J'la prend doucement au creux d'mon bras -> more like "I softly wrap my arm around her" (lit. "I softly take her in the crook of my arm")

In the seat she thinks she’s safe don’t stop me from trying to kiss her -> you got it, except the initial "in"
ma foi -> it's not like "oh my god", more like "well", said about a pleasant outcome. Something like "golly", except it's still very much used today.

le cinéma permanent -> That means they keep showing the same movie all day. This no longer exists, but in the 50's you could stay in the theatre and watch the movie several times in a row with the same ticket.

Vladimir4757Vladimir4757    Thu, 06/08/2020 - 16:55

Thank you! Regarding ludicrous idioms for "to die", I had a lot of options. None that crazy, but there were some, so I just decided to combine my favorites that somewhat work while remaining nonsensical for a bizarre metaphorical phrase for "He died." Here are some that you can use :
1. "Pushing up daisies when he popped his clog on the wrong side of the grass."
2. "Cashed in his chips and freed his horses."
3. "He went west on a pale horse."
4. "Checked out the brown bread and cashed in his chips."
5. "Came to a sticky situation in a glue factory." (apparently "glue factory" is used in reference to horses more often but still, this is hilarious)

Feel free to use any of these metaphors for referring to death if you'd like!
I went with #5 despite "glue factory" usually referring to horses because that's just funny, but there are five options I could've chosen

As for the rest, thanks Silenced! This really helped.

Vladimir4757Vladimir4757    Fri, 07/08/2020 - 10:23

Yes, that is about right. It's actually kinda fun though making metaphors like this. Not only that but I think these metaphors are the better (in context to songs like this) to get that nonsensical vibe because unless you know the idioms used you don't know it's a metaphor if you're not used to English. Plus it can be funny to read some of them. There were not too many funny ones for death though, but I came up with five metaphors nonetheless that are equally nonsensical.

Also, #4 is rubbing off on me so I changed the metahpor. I just feel it's even more nonsensical

silencedsilenced    Fri, 07/08/2020 - 15:24

Oh btw. if you like funny French you might want to have a look at this one too. Pretty nonsensical but the puns are very decent.

IrulaIrula    Wed, 05/08/2020 - 20:15

A little typo:
My father too[k] me to the cinema

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