‘Lost in Translation’ navigates global spaces
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Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’ surrounds the experiences of Bob Harris and Charlotte, American tourists in Tokyo. Transcending the expectations of its romantic comedy genre, it delves into something much deeper; the overwhelming impact of globalisation on both the local and individuals. Bob Harris is a Hollywood actor whose faltering career has led him to accept an offer to shoot a commercial for Suntory Whiskey while Charlotte is in Tokyo for her husband’s work as a photographer. Both characters are established with a lack of connectedness to both their surroundings and people around them, whether it be the Japanese, or their spouses. With Bob’s wife, Lydia, communicating through loveless and often deprecating faxes and Charlotte’s husband John perpetually distracted by his job commitments and dismissive of her attempts to get his attention, much like Bob’s Lydia, seemingly more attached to technology than Charlotte, illustrated by his excessive amounts of photography equipment. Throughout the film, Bob and Charlotte seemingly find solace and genuine connection in one another. Contextually speaking, Coppola’s choice of setting is meaningful to the relationship between the film and globalisation. With its sophisticated technology creating opportunity for export, allowing a rate of economic growth, Japan is arguably the best example of globalisation in the late twentieth century. Coppola establishes this through the long panning shots of the city at night that could almost be interchangeable with a city like New York. Its recent acceptance and partial adoption of Western culture made way for business relationships and heightened economy, having been denied for many centuries due to both geographical barriers and deliberate government policy. However, Coppola reflects on how traditional Japanese culture has become rivalled through the karaoke scene and Bob being greeted by hotel employees wearing...
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