its

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mimike, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. mimike Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    I came across a weird use of its in a sentence, I can't quite figure out what it refers to. Situation: two people were watching a very old film in a hall. Later one of them told a third person what he had seen. And the sentence: "The deserted auditorium was a haunting frame for its rainy landscapes of the old film.

    What does its refer to here?
     
  2. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    This does not sound like something a native speaker would say. What nationality was the person? Did you hear them say it personally? Have you seen it written down?
     
  3. mimike Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    No, it's in a book. Do I need to mention the source?
     
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Yes, please. And a link if you can:).
     
  5. mimike Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    I can't give you a link. It's from David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.
     
  6. mimike Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    I'll quote two more sentences that follow,they might help:

    "The deserted auditorium was a haunting frame for its rainy landscapes of the old film. Giants strode across the screen, lit by sunlite captured thru a lens when your grandfather’s grandfather, Archivist, was kicking inside his mother’s womb."
     
  7. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I would understand "The deserted auditorium was a haunting frame for the rainy landscapes of the old film."

    I don't understand its any more than you do mimike.
    :(
     
  8. Rival Senior Member

    English - UK
    :thumbsup: That makes good sense.

    Also, does the book say anything else about rain in the film?
    I'm wondering if the old film was grainy, not rainy.
    .
     
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    It's a long time since I read Cloud Atlas, (though I loved it!) I have, however, found the equivalent sentence in my copy: it reads The deserted auditorium was a haunting frame for its rainy landscapes of the old disney.

    It's important to note that this part of the novel is set in a post-apocalyptic future, when aspects of the language have changed. "Disney", for example, is the word used for "film" or "movie"; words like "exercise" are written "xercise".

    At this point, a particular film is being discussed, The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish. I think it's possible to interpret the sentence in two ways:

    (1) with "its" referring back to the film, and "of the old disney" referring to the genre: "The deserted auditorium was a haunting frame for The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish's rainy landscapes, {which were} typical of the old-style movie genre."
    (2) with "its" being a misprint for "the", as in Biffo's post 7 above.

    I don't know which is more likely here. That said, in any current/early 21st-century context, I would opt for (2):).
     
  10. mimike Member

    Hungary
    Hungarian
    Thank you very much for all your answers, you've been great help. :)
     

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