The Miracle of the Little Prince
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s celebrated philosophical children’s book about friendship, love and respect, is one of the world’s most widely translated literary works. In The Miracle of the Little Prince, Marjoleine Boonstra visits the people who have translated this little masterpiece from French into Tibetan, Tamazight (North Africa), Sámi (northern Finland and Scandinavia) and Nawat (El Salvador). All of these languages are under threat.
Passionately enthusiastic language researchers, teachers and translators talk about how the observations of an alien prince on earth are interpreted in their own culture. They also recall the first time they read the book, and, naturally enough, discuss the linguistic challenges they faced—how do you translate “water faucet” if there's no such term in your world? This original approach and the exquisite, calm cinematography allow for the telling of personal stories that are as bizarre, human and painful as the experiences of the titular prince. It’s a film that inspires wonder—a testimony to the imagination and the solace and liberation it offers.
This thought-provoking documentary uses the iconic text "The Little Prince" to discuss the rigors of linguistic preservation and translation in four different isolated communities around the world - and provides a look into these cultures and their values through examining their languages and vocabularies, as well as their embrace of the French children's story. "[O]verall this is an interesting look at the role The Little Prince has played in preserving endangered languages." - Video Librarian
- "Sitting in a world capital, writing in an English that’s spoken almost everywhere and is just as widely abused, it’s easy to despair of literature and to dismiss as sentimental the idea that a book might speak to people in many different conditions. Boonstra has evidence to the contrary. It’s worth listening to—in Tamazight, Sámi, Nawat, Tibetan, or any tongue you can name."
- "In a world increasingly resistant to cultural exchange, the miracle of The Little Prince is how it’s become so universally beloved, and Boonstra’s film is a worthy homage to its passionate translators who’ve been so inspired by Saint-Exupery’s story about a boy whose open curiosity about our world makes us all see it anew, that they’ve committed to strengthening its roots through the act of translation."
- "...visually poetic...."
- "This visual essay of a film is moving, philosophical, and also an excellent primer into understanding why The Little Prince is loved by so many. The values in the story transcend boundaries. The film also takes a deeper look at how this book is helping to save these languages from extinction."
- "...touching and beautifully shot...."
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