Local non-English speaking programs, dubbed and subtitled in all languages, find a global audience
Photo by Thibault Pennin, Unsplash
Luxembourgish is considered an endangered language by UNESCO. It is practically spoken only in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a state island of 600,000 inhabitants, roughly equal to the city of Baltimore. Putting drama on screen in that language – any screen – can therefore seem like an extremely pipe-dreaming undertaking. But Claude Waringo tried, and tried again. for 35 years.
The film and television producer had his first success with the anti-hero film De Superjump Returns, which tells the story of a studious Luxembourgish civil servant who derives his superpowers from ‘cachkis’, a local specialty, a cheese called of gum cooked to consistency. This generated 63,000 cinema tickets – an event within Luxembourg’s borders. But that was the limit. “Most people don’t even know that Luxembourg exists,” Waringo laughs heartily.
A major upheaval in the entertainment economy
Until something changes. US subscription streaming services have arrived, and there has been a major upheaval in the entertainment economy. A change that also affected Luxembourgish cinema.
It all started in 2020 when Netflix bought ‘Capitani’, a crime series produced by Waringo’s Sansa Films for the RTL television channel. It takes place in a picturesque Luxembourg village where bakers gossip, priests plot and teens mope. At one point, an outlaw villain comes across a police officer who is too busy eating a croissant to care. The writers created the characters with specific actors in mind. Luxembourg’s talent pool is not enough for a casting call. Yet for some spectacular and unexpected days this spring, the Capitani was topped […]