Lost in Translation

I just saw this film tonight and was really impressed. I guess it probably hasn’t started showing in Taiwan yet as there seem to be no threads on the film. It was really well directed by Sofia Coppola and the performances by both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson were just amazing. I think it is probably the best film I have seen in more than a year. I won’t go into detail about the film as you can easily find out about it by looking at reviews at www.rottentomatoes.com or a number of other film websites. I highly recommend that you see this film whenever it opens in Taiwan. Erick

No, hasn’t got here yet, dammit!
Question:Are there English subtitles for the Japanese parts?

No, but I don’t think it gets in the way of understanding what’s going on (unlike “Kill Bill”).

According to a recent article in the NYT on the latest spate of movies that touch upon Japan, "[url=http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/04/movies/04RICH.html]Hollywood’s Land of the Rising Clich

A local Forumosan scavenger is known to have recently kazaa-ed it (hint hint) if you can’t wait for the theatre opening here.
I am sure it’ll be a big hit here in Taiwan as the Taiwanese seem as bemused by Japanese culture as westerners.
And it’s possible Bill Murray will be nominated for an Oscar. He is surely one of Hollywood’s greatest overlooked talents.


Yes, that Motoko Rich article is good.

I saw it in Montreal over New Year’s. Nice. See last graph for instructions. I think it will do well here in Taiwan, IF it ever arrives. Where is Kazza download available?

My cousin Veronique said this “was one of the most realistic ‘sad’ films I’ve ever seen.” But that doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was a dreamy film, and, more often than not, a gorgeous one in its attention to the self-doubt, loneliness, and lack of fulfillment that hang over American movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) during his stay in Tokyo. The only hint of his native life in the States are the brief and seemingly terse faxes from and phone calls with his wife. The deepest communication the couple is able to achieve is on the carpet swatches for the study in his new home. Theirs is a relationship in which the mundane details of everyday living seems to have left any possibility for deeper conversation and fulfillment cowering in a lavishly appointed closet.

Director Sofia Coppola does not shy away from stereotypes of Asian submissivity, sexual and otherwise. But in the end, it feels that Harris is the one who is being both venerated and exploited by a foreign culture. The ubiquity of Harris’ likeness in the of the ad campaign for Suntory, the Japanese liquor for whose promotion Harris has been engaged, does little to help. Along with his previous movies from the seventies and eighties, it contributes to the very objectifaction of Harris that he seems to reject in the unwanted advances of a “masseuse” sent to his hotel room by his commercial hosts. Harris’s awkward encounter is one of man in which he continually finds himself the object of both veneration, and cultural objectifcation. Perhaps most frustrating for Harris is the process of translation in which the nuances and emotion of his many directors are reduced to simple commands and a lexicon of pop icon gestures -Sinatra’s cocked eyebrow, Dean’s pistol-twirling finger-point, Roger Moore’s 007 stare- which he peforms before the cameras of the Suntory admen. East becomes West, and West becomes East, but the twain never really begin to understand each other.

In the company of the young Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), however, Harris finds a companion who is just as at odds with her circumstances, marital and societal, as Harris himself. As the wife of a fashion photographer who runs among a raffish and bratty crowd of twentysomething American commercial mavens, Charlotte is decidely aloof, her undergraduate philosophy from Yale betraying a more contemplative temperment. In Harris, she finds a suitable mentor in melancholy for what might possibly become a lifelong dissertation on its many facets.

If challenged to come up with a single question which Coppola’s work seems to posit, one would do well to ask, simply “what does it mean to be understood” whether by one’s self, one’s spouse, one’s children, or one’s culture. Methinks it may soon be time to rent a copy of Coppola’s “Virgin Suicides”, as I have not yet seen it. If it displays anywhere near the depth and range of emotion as “Lost in Translation”, it will certainly be worth the viewing.

Thanks to my forumosa scavenger mate, I’ve now seen this lovely film–twice. It’s interesting how director Sofia Coppola has chosen not to subtitle the Japanese dialogue, but i believe this was intentional in order to make the viewer relate more to the characters’ experience of feeling alienated in Japan.

There’s much similarity in Japanese culture with Taiwan, for example cooking your own food (hotpot) restaurants, pachinko (down south still, but a biggie in Taipei up til a few yrs ago), game parlors, KTVs, politicians clamouring down the roads (get ready for more of that soon!), the pseudo politeness. Think back to your first arrival in Taiwan, or the first time you were dragged to a KTV…and you’ve experienced what Bob and Charlotte go through in this film. It’s delightfully different with its slow pacing, thoughtful, minimal and deliberate dialogue.

In some ways the Japanese are portrayed as buffoons, like the guy on the talk show, but we all know from the Japanese tv channels we see here or our visits to Japan, that it’s not a stereotype the director has pulled out of her ass. Japan appears a truly inane culture to the outside eye, particularly the unprepared western one.

I saw an ad for Lost in Translation in the Apple Daily. It’s coming out in Taiwan in mid-February. What was interesting/disappointing was it’s lame Chinese name. I think it was

saw this last nite and just loved it (bangkok dvd)…i would use one word to describe it…elegaic (sp)…fantastic soundtrack too…rarely has a movie held me spellbound so completely
check out the cool website…um link thingy…lost-in-translation.com/home.html

velly interesting article in the smh by a japanese-american girl arguing that the movie is one long racist joke against modern japanese culture…have a read…un link thingy…
smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/ … 57842.html

i’m gunna watch it agin tonite cos she prolly has a point that coppola goes a bit far in her portrayal of japanese people as completely out-to-lunch…like to see a response from her too…any thoughts?

==================I guesss there are two ways too look at this: ONE: SPofia Coppoila is the rich daughter of FFC and therefore knows little abnout Japan life, or TWO: Kiku Day is overreactoing./

film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0 … 01,00.html

=================her name was Kiku Day

=================ID: Kiku Day is a musician specialising in shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute); she spent 10 years living in Japan

I thought it was a well-made movie, but I think Americans that haven’t had much exposure to Asia will find it more fascinating. I crack up each time I think about “Lip My Stockings.” The soundtrack was perfect–loved the “Sucking on my titties” number. Sure it wasn’t always politically correct, but anyone ever see Japanese TV?

[quote=“bear64”]velly interesting article in the smh by a Japanese-American girl arguing that the movie is one long racist joke against modern Japanese culture…have a read…un link thingy…
smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/ … 57842.html

I’m gunna watch it agin tonite cos she prolly has a point that coppola goes a bit far in her portrayal of Japanese people as completely out-to-lunch…like to see a response from her too…any thoughts?[/quote]

How is it racist? The Japanese are weird to outsiders. Just flip on NHK, or one of the other Japanese channels.
And like I’m soooo sure that Japanese directors have never depicted ANYONE non-Japanese as odd before…please! :unamused:
The weirdest character of all was the blonde bimbo who was supposedly based on Cameron Diaz. While the husband was based on director Spike Jonez. Coppola, of course, was Charlotte.

I think it’s deliberately filmed to bring out the ‘lost in translation’ quality of being a stranger somewhere you really do not belong, understand, or even want to be. My friend described this film as ‘watching it underwater’. I tend to agree. It had a surreal quality and if that magnified the oddness of Japanese culture, then so what?

yeah i tend to agree but i think she goes a bit far in a couple of scenes…ie the insane hooker that gets sent to bills room; she was seriously over the top!

liked the underwater comment…apparently the sound recording is ground breaking in it’s attention to the ambience of that sort of top class hotel

[quote=“bear64”]yeah i tend to agree but I think she goes a bit far in a couple of scenes…ie the insane hooker that gets sent to bills room; she was seriously over the top!
Oh, i don’t know about that… Seen the Rainbow channel recently? Japanese porn itself is over the top in the sense of rape/probe scenarios.

But perhaps her ‘lip my stockings’ part could be considered slightly offensive, but every Japanese I’ve ever met has an ‘R’ pronunciation deficit! :? Much much worse than here.

bugger no we’re too mature (read cheap) to have rainbow piped in…do remember it from days of yore tho’ …my fav was the dripping candle wax routine


one question…would doctors in japan really not be able to speak english? that seems a bit far-fetched no?

An American viewer said this: “I’m an American of Cuban descent living in Los Angeles. I thought this was the most shallow, stupid and bigoted movie I have seen in about forever. I cannot understand why it has received so many favorable reviews. I am embarrassed on behalf of my whole country. It’s not much obviously, but. To all the gentle and forbearing people of Japan! I apologize for this horribly stupid movie.”

I don’t know. Some doctors can read English and understand it, but when it comes to speaking it, they shy away since they’ve had little practice. In Japan, some doctors might be too embarrassed to speak it. It’s happens here. So, why couldn’t it happen there?
I’m not sold on the stereotyping, guys. It seemed all too realistic to me. Let’s call it ‘generalisations for entertainment value’.

And why do you think there are so many stereotypes flying around Hollywood and elsewhere anyway? It’s because they have some aspects of truth to them.

I’m the first one to disdain racism, but stereotyping can sometimes be amusing. Films like Fargo (for example of one of my favourites) certainly stereotypes North Dakotans, or people from that part of the US. Most films and TV shows depicting Italian Americans, go for the mafia gist. Lucy Liu gets cast as a dragon lady again and again.
The biggest Chinese stars in Hollywood are all graced in kung fu or martial arts to some extent. How many locals do YOU know who are? I only know of one or two myself…

Sofia Coppola wasn’t trying to portray Japan in any sort of light other than the one she chose. She obviously knows very little about the culture herself, which came across in the writing. Charlotte going around Tokyo visiting temples and staring at everything and taking it all in is what people do when they first arrive in a new place.
Why do you think she chose not to give us subtitles?