There’s an Aap for That

Clean Marketing
Walking down Biltstraat this afternoon, G was the first to notice this promo for the upcoming release of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. If you look closely, you’ll see the head of an ape with the film title beneath it. They seem to have done a bit of reverse stenciling, by powercleaning the sidewalk to create the image and text, rather than dirtying it with paint or chalk. I’ve always kind of liked this form of graffiti.

The advert reminded us of a bit of standup that Australian comedian Kitty Flanagan did about The Planet of the Apes and the difficulty in subtitling or dubbing the film in French. The French don’t seem to distinguish linguistically between monkeys and apes, which makes one of the scenes in the film hard to translate. The line in the film goes something like, “I’m not a monkey. I’m an ape!” But in French, they use the word singe for both, so you end up with, “I’m not a singe! I’m a singe!” Well, except it would be all in French. (Trust me, I tried to find the video online of Flanagan doing this bit of standup, but I had no luck.)

It turns out, the Dutch are no better. Ape and monkey are both aap in Dutch. It’s a good thing the Dutch don’t dub foreign-language films. I’m dying to see the subtitles for that scene, though. “Ik ben geen aap. Ik ben een aap!” Talk about lost in translation!

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9 thoughts on “There’s an Aap for That

  1. I saw the same thing in Amsterdam but they painted it. I wondered why they didn’t do the eco graffiti. I like that batter too. At least they are doing it in some places.

  2. I saw that sign today, too! I was wondering a) how they did it — thanks for clarifying! and b) how long it had been there. I wondered if I’d been walking over it for a while without noticing!

    • I assume it was powercleaning. What time did you see it? I’m not sure if we first passed over it right after they finished doing it, or if the guys working were doing something else. We were there around 1:40. There have been other painted bits on that corner before, so it’s easy to ignore it all after a while.

  3. Powercleaning for publicity? I’ve never seen that!
    My husband tells me that in Dutch you have the words, “aap” to refer to “monkey’ and ‘mensaap’ to refer to “ape” – so the line would probably be, “ik ben geen aap, ik ben een mensaap”?

    • Ah, good to know there is a way to specify if needed. I got the impression from some other Dutch friends that aap is the go-to word unless you’re really trying to be specific. Fortunately, I don’t come across that many of either in my daily life! Olifanten on the other hand …

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