Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003) is another good Fall title for me. It takes place in Tokyo and the most relatable bits in the film are Charlotte and Bob, the two main characters, exploring the busy, urban streets of Tokyo together, thus sharing their isolated togetherness and bonding in a place where the leading currency is utter linguistic unfamiliarity and unequivocal confusion.

Charlotte and Bob do not speak Japanese, ergo, they cannot decode the basic sign system which allows other Tokyo inhabitants to understand each-other. They have native friends who, when they choose to go out celebrating on the streets of Tokyo, do not party any differently than a New York or Berlin crowd. They dance to techno music, play dress-up, meet new people, and discuss art with strangers.

They also party in authentically Japanese urban apartments, sing and dance to English music. One of Charlotte’s friends, Charlie Brown, a Japanese man, karaokes quite animatedly Sex Pistols' “God save the Queen.” I love his version.

In a century where things move fast, people change locations swiftly and roots do not seem to be allowed to grow, Coppola seems to yearn for a chance for people to stop and relate to each other. And in Lost in Translation that very human connection is evidenced in a simple raw fish lunch Charlotte shares with Bob in a little Tokyo restaurant, or at the Emergency Room where Bob waits for Charlotte with a corpulent Teddy, or when Bob and Charlotte discuss (over Roxy Music's So Into You) their 2-day relationship which seems to have more substance than Bob's too-familiar, decade-long marriage to Lidia or Charlotte's own staccato relationship with her no-attention-span-having husband.

Solitude and silence are louder than even the very ‘happening’ streets of Tokyo and that is precisely what this beautifully shot, poetic film privileges. And I concur with Coppola's predilection.

graph per imdb

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

my fave bit from this movie:

charlotte: 'but i'm so mean.'
bob: 'you're not hopeless.'