Navigating the Global, Lost in Translation

Topics: Suntory, Sofia Coppola, Bill Murray Pages: 5 (1774 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Extension 1.
Lost in Translation.

Directed by Sophia Coppola in the form of a comic melodrama, Lost In Translation pursue’s a view that until recently, had been left unanswered in many films alike, however Lost In Translation takes a different pathway, apprehending the viewers attention via a clandestine interpretation of love.

Bob (Bill Murray), the protagonist of Lost In Translation appears to be of a quite tedious nature at first. His film career has passed him by with his last major film being produced in the seventies, and he finds himself disorientated as he is surrounded by the Japanese who are captivated by his era of fame. He is paid to represent and advertise a Japanese whiskey that he doesn’t even like, and he sees the real holes in his career as he models for the whiskey with a glass of iced tea, showing how feigned everyday representations can be. He lives his life flying in and out under his agents instructions to provide for his family from which he is conspicuously disconnected, his wife sending him faxes (which alone highlights the aspects of globalisation that the film attempts to project) with updates that read more like journal entries than messages to one’s significant life partner.

Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) however, a young woman recently married is becoming detached from her new husband John (Giovanna Ribisi) who dragged her with him to Japan on a business trip. As he leaves daily to further his career as a photographer, he seems to un-involve himself in their marriage, not treating her with the importance and priority she was promised at the altar, and essentially rejecting her. She begins to question her life, resorting to self-help CDs in an attempt to gain control and perspective into her life in the fishbowl-like hotel room she confines herself to.

The film opens with a close up of Charlotte’s backside, before progressing to an empathic view of Bob Harris inside a cab driving through the streets of Tokyo at night, using amazingly photographical shots of Tokyo to show the city in its full colour from behind the backseat glass window, his tired, perhaps jetlagged disinterest signifying his lack of connection with the city, and even his driver as he sights an advertisement featuring him self from which he is totally dislocated.

Coppola introduces Charlotte into Bob’s life slowly. Their first couple of encounters are fairly casual, the first being a scene where they happen upon one another first in an elevator, the only two Caucasian people in it. Bob doesn’t notice her then, but Charlotte notices him, and Bob soon follows her upon their next encounter in the bar/cocktail lounge near the lobby of their hotel. As their friendship continues developing, they begin to seek out one another and a notable connection is visible. They progress to spending as much time as possible with each other, as they both know that sooner or later a departure will occur. By sharing their mutual distaste for Tokyo, their similarities draw them together to form a friendship which develops into an unconsummated, and tension filled affair, which brings out the best in both the aged actor and the recent college graduate. Both people are in need of fresh love, or rather, companionship, and upon realising themselves both ‘Lost In Translation’ the film shows how two people alike can navigate global spaces by specifically not belonging.

The film Lost In Translation navigates global spaces through a sense of not belonging in a foreign place. With comedy being discretely pursued through a juxtaposition of races, Coppola’s interpretation of a modern day culture mix appears to be futuristic. The main theme of the film is detailing an ‘accidental’ relationship between the protagonist (Bob) and Charlotte, developing due to the distinct qualities and indifferences that the two share. Charlotte is in search of companionship as she is lost in Japan, and Bob is also seeking new comfort, which Charlotte, being...
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