Friday, January 12, 2007

Retooling Hollywood


Clueless is a stereotypical chick flick in that it satisfies its audience, is light hearted, and good-natured. The film was so obviously written and directed by a female because of the components that perfectly satisfy the intended audience. This film was made for women, especially teenage girls. The film focuses on the American obsession with rich, ditzy, beautiful, young people. It has style, as in fashion style. The characters are young, fashionable, rich, and seem to have trivial problems. This movie, these characters were developed to provide entertainment, to take its audience away from the real high school experience and provide the fantasy of a glamorous lifestyle free of serious worries. I do not think it should be viewed as a commentary on American teenagers, although I do think it is important to remember, while watching the film, that there are American teenagers who have grown up like that. It is a strange divide between something that would be seen as a fantasy, a glamour world for some, and a normal high school for others. I believe through those implications Clueless could suggest that the divide between the American classes is larger than we may think. I do not think Clueless was meant to be seen as a serious commentary, however I do believe that under the layers there are those suggestions. It’s a cute, classic chick flick.

In the Cut. - Not Good

Ok, I am sorry, I thought this movie was terrible. Meg Ryan had to have ruined her reputation with this picture. Ruffalo was equally as bad in my opinion. I believe that Jane Campion had to have been influenced by heavy drugs when thinking about the ramifications of this film. There was really nothing good about it except for the chest shots. The vocabulary of Ruffalo was so elementary for a professional actor it was sickening. If this woman wanted to create a porno film than she should have with people getting murdered. I really did not find anything good about this film.

No doubt this film was much different from our other films. It was terrible. You know, the fellatio scene I thought might be a significant part of the movie but it was just unnecessary, and saying that coming from me is amazing because usually I love seeing stuff like that, but this was pointless and unneeded. Also, the fact that the killer cuts the peoples heads off is a little overboard don’t you think?

I think that Kevin Bacon was the best actor in the movie. What happened to the cute Meg Ryan? She looked terrible. Seeing her chest was better than listening to her speak. I really don’t see Campion’s motive for writing a screenplay like this. I mean,, I thought the Piano was strange, but this film was just pointless. Who would waste their time to go see this? I would like to know how many people actually went to see this when it was in the theatre. Honestly, Dr. Boles, I have thought about some positive things to write down in this blog but I really have not found anything I liked about it. The other movies were much more professional. I would like to think that this film was the low point of Jane Campion’s directing career. I really could not see her doing a worse movie.

In the Cut

Before watching Jane Campion’s In The Cut I prepared myself to see intense blood and gore and very graphic sex scenes. But I wasn’t that taken aback while watching the film. The only weird part was having to watch Meg Ryan play the role and really break down her typical “America’s sweetheart” status. The film was beautifully shot and watching the movie almost felt like reading a book because all of the symbolism that took place. Certain images were random and I couldn’t figure out what they meant, like the bride and groom in the subway. I felt as if Campion was trying to make me focus on a certain object from the way that the camera was placed. When Frannie and Pauline were in their room the camera focused in on Frannie holding the red shoes. When Frannie was leaving the bar the camera didn’t focus centrally on her walking out the door, instead the camera was placed behind a teddy bear that you had to look past in order to focus on the main character. Also certain shots made it seem as if we were looking though Frannie’s eyes, especially when she was reading poetry on the metro. The shots were blurry like she didn’t have her glasses on. Other shots that looked as if they came from Frannie’s point of view were glances out of the window at people on the street or looking around corners to see if detective Malloy was there. There were so many red things in this movie that I didn’t know what to make of it. Certain red things were obvious, like John Graham’s red hat and coat, the red turtle, the mom flower thing in the subway, pauline’s red shoes, or the overall red glow. Other images of red seemed more subtle like When Frannie put the detective’s card on her door she used a red tack, her teapot was red, on her dresser the lamp was red, there was a red vase and some red underwear was hanging out of the drawer. Red can mean anything from power, violence, or romance. Campion's use of the color did draw my attention and really made certain images stand out. Overall In the Cut definitely shows Jane Campion’s progression as a filmmaker.

Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) is the classic “chick flick”, a story about love at first sight, and people who are meant to be together that is utterly romantic. However, could the enduring qualities about this film be attributed to the gender of its director? Written and directed by Nora Ephron, Sleepless in Seattle touches on the timeless question of the existence of true love. What distinguishes this film from other “chick flick” romantic comedies is the way love is presented to its audience.
Epron works to develop her characters into “real people” straying from the usual stereotypes for similar films. Gender roles are almost totally set aside within this film. Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) is a sensitive caring father who is lost after the death of his wife, while Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) is a successful journalist who doesn’t believe in fate. Both Hanks and Ryan play incredibly real characters that are easily related to. Whether or not Ephron uses female insight to develop her characters or simply her own insights as a person is irrelevant because her ability to see and understand human motivations and emotions is uncanny.
Hanks’ conversation with his friend Jay (Rob Reiner) about dating is something only a woman would actually write about. I have yet to see another film where a man is so open about his dating worries. He is scared and uncertain, yet Ephron is able to turn this scene into a humorous light hearted conversation while still expressing the emotions of her character. The butts scene as I like to call it really targets male emotions without exploiting the vulnerability of the situation that Hanks finds himself thrust into. She doesn’t allow Hanks’ character to viewed as a bubbling emotional wreck, instead he retains a very masculine personal which becomes incredibly endearing. He is a strong man with a heart, a character that is very rarely depicted in Hollywood today.

in the cut

“In The Cut” is the first movie I have ever seen or at least that I can recollect that is as violent and gory as it is and is written and directed by a woman. This is the second work of Jane Campion I have seen and I enjoyed “In The Cut” much more than “The Piano.” While “In The Cut” has a female leading role and plays on her emotions and strength, I can not imagine this movie attracting too much of a female audience due to its graphic violence. Campion proves herself a courageous director with the sex scenes in this movie also, for they are graphic to a point that I have not seen in any other film. The movie is about a school teacher, Frannie, (played by Meg Ryan) her relationship with a detective, Malloy, (played by Mark Ruffalo) and a serial killer who targets several women in Frannie’s residential area. At the beginning of the film, Frannie seems to be a conservative young teacher who hasn’t been with a man in some time, while Malloy, the detective knows exactly how to please a woman and is not conservative in his actions or language ever. Malloy seduces Frannie and shows her something she was missing in her life, a man. Frannie feels for Malloy, but is cautious because the killer has some similar attributes to Malloy and although she has intercourse with him she doesn’t trust him at all. Throughout the film we see Frannie transformation from a quiet stoic school teacher, to a passionate person who feels and is more of a sexual being. Unlike “The Piano”, “In The Cut” is not so much driven by its characters, because it has more of an exciting story involving a serial killer on the loose. This means that her characters aren’t as deep as they were in the Piano, where there actions create the plot.

Retooling Hollywood

In the Cut

I found a few things quite interesting while watching “In the Cut.” First of all, I simply could not get over my feeling that Meg Ryan did NOT belong in that part of town, and she was not meant to be conversing with the people she knew. She seemed to come from a different class, she went to boarding school, valued education, dressed more conservatively, and while she appeared to be aware of the situations around her, she did not give in to that lifestyle. She was very different from her half sister. I found it hard to believe that they grew up as sisters because they seemed to come from different backgrounds. I wish that could have been explained a little better, because I found it a little distracting.
I also found it fascinating how much time was devoted to making the good detective appear to be the killer. The tattoo, the conversation about engagement, the sister’s comment on wanting the detective all seemed to imply that he was the killer. I suppose most of the story consisted of that tension between the audience (and at times Meg Ryan) believe he was the killer.
Everything was so crude in the film! Even her fantasy of Giovanni earlier in the film was a little crude. It was a little uncomfortable because there we were, watching Meg Ryan in a very intimate, personal situation, and the movie, as a whole seemed to break all personal, intimate boundaries. Even the scene with the blue finger nailed woman performing oral sex on the killer detective is shot very close, and feels uncomfortably personal.
The reds in the movie accentuated the bloodiness and the passion. Red appeared to be the only vibrant color in the film, surrounded by brown and grey.
I enjoyed the film, and I thought the cinematography and script carried us well along that twisted, crude, and violent world.

In the Cut

In the beginning of In the Cut, the main character, Frannie, is writing a book about slang. She says to her friend that "Slang is either sexual or violent," to which her friend responds "or both." This exchange helps set the tone for a movie that explores a lot of sex and violence. In the Cut has been accused of being misogynistic, but I disagree. Some have made objections to Frannie's desire for a man who she thinks could be the serial murderer who killed her sister. However, I think Frannie is supposed to be a very sympathetic character, and that it seems to make sense that she could fall for man who is a detective who is therefore supposed to be safe. The real character the audience is supposed to dislike is Malloy's partner, who establishes himself as a sort of villain from the time we meet him because he is clearly a misogynist. He acts very sexist when Frannie first meets in him the bar – he dismisses her and continues talking to Malloy, making obnoxious womanizing comments.

I did think it was ironic that Campion made this film after the scene in the piano where they are putting on a play where a man murders his wives and the Maori people object. In class, we interpreted this as a critique of western society where violence, particularly against women, is often used in entertainment. In the Cut contained a huge amount of violence towards women.

The colors red and green were prevalent in this film and probably took on several different meanings, but I guessed that they represented Frannie’s confusion. She didn’t know who to trust in the movie and while she was falling in love with Malloy it was easily possible that he was the murderer. This made it seem like the red and green lighting were sort of her simultaneous feelings of wanting to stop out of fear of the possibility of him being the killer and wanting to go on with the sexual relationship out of love for him.

In The Cut

In The Cut (2003) directed by Jane Campion is an incredible film both for its cinematography and its use of eyes. Campion uses both as tools to embellish the film’s plot. One of the most intense and graphic films I have ever seen, In The Cut is literally a piece of art. The way the camera shoots the actors, the facial expressions of the actors, and even the lighting in the film add to its overall success.
Campion makes many strong decisions in the film that make watching it difficult but looking away impossible. Her use of natural light, harsh light, allows her to play with the mood of her film. Pauline’s (Jennifer Jason Lee) apartment, Frannie’s (Meg Ryan) apartment, the Bars, the streets, and even the police station are all lit with this incredible light that both washes the characters out as well as giving them an air of mystery like everything is happening in the shadows. This use of light helps to establish the dingy, sweltering, unforgiving atmosphere of New York City in the summer. This atmosphere in turn provides the perfect setting for Campion’s film. It is hot, it is dangerous, and it is impersonal. It also highlights the desperation of Ryan’s character. Like a time bomb her situation is ready to explode, the audience knows this, they can see it in the shaky movements and quick cuts of the camera, they can hear it in the heightened sound of the film, and they are simply waiting at the edges of their seats for that horrible moment to come.
Campion uses tactics like these took keep her audience guessing. In this film nothing is for sure until the credits start to roll. She keeps her audience guessing, and they never quite know who to trust. This aspect of her film posses a powerful statement on modern society. Even in a culture where men and women are supposedly equals their exists a strong misogynistic undertone that is violent and manipulative.


Clueless (1995) is a wonderful example of how female direction can take a simple story full of stereotypes and clichés and turn that story into something much deeper for their female audiences. Amy Heckerling’s direction takes Clueless far beyond the expectations of her audience through her subtle use of detail. Use of themes, feminist ideas, and dialogue turn this simple film into a cinematic treasure. Although the story revolves around the somewhat shallow dramas of Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) and her high school friends, Dionne (Stacey Dash) and Tai (Brittany Murphy), the undertones of the plot have universal significance.
Clueless is surprising. Although it seems to be a “chick flick” one cannot help noticing the Heckerling’s social commentary. Yes, the film’s characters are caught up in the superficial aspects of modern life, clothing, cars, and social status, however, when considered outside the parameters of the movie itself these themes take on a whole new meaning. Heckerling is not simply poking fun at some spoiled rich kids in Beverly Hills; she forces her audience to consider their own role within this ridiculous society. She seems to ask, how far have we strayed, and how much farther can society go? Looking back, when I first saw clueless I was about ten years old, I remember being awed by Cher and her amazing computerized closet, I remember thinking how cool those kids were at the party in The Valley, and most of all I remember how much I wanted to be in high school.
Now, watching Clueless I cannot help but be appalled by how little society has changed. It remains obsessed by standards of beauty, wealth, and status that are seriously out of control, like those kids in Beverly Hills we continue to push the limits and take very little time to consider the consequences of our actions. Heckerling was commenting on the lives of American girls, it’s scary how little has changed in the last decade.

In the Cut

The film In the Cut was filled with so much suspense, being that it was not until the last moment that all the pieces to the puzzle were revealed. Throughout the film, Campion places many possible choices in the film as suspects, but at the last moment reveals the criminal who in my opinion was one of the least expected choices. However, all throughout the film subtle hints are dropped such as detective Malloy stating that his partner who is revealed as the murderer does not believe that all the murders are connected. In this film many of the scenes are graphic and intense unlike the other movies we have watched. Also many aspects of the movie do not connect well with each other. In the beginning the storyline develops very slowly which hints that director is a female. However, although this movie has a female director, writer and producer is not the typical romantic chick flick. In fact I do not believe that this film can even be labeled as a chick flick. Though the movie does show a relationship between Frannie and Detective Malloy the romance is not on a level that most women want. Instead the relationship between the two is disturbing with no solid emotional connection. Unlike the other films we have watched where the female character experiences a renewal or a better understanding of who she is that is not the case with Frannie.
In the beginning of the film Frannie seems to be burnt out, lost and in search of something. Campion places red in the same scene with Frannie a lot. For instance, the large red heart which reads mom, I think that the use of red is to depict the violence and murder that occurs in the film. Unlike the other films in which some sort of new understanding about life takes place, this does not happen in this film. The only thing I can see Frannie gaining from the outcome is being able to develop some level of trust with Detective Malloy. However, as for their relationship though I believe it is showed that they have moved on from simply a sexual attraction there is no clear understanding of where they can go from there on out.

In the Cut

In The Cut was not all I thought it would be. It was more tame than I thought it was hyped up to be. Yes, there were very explicit sex scenes. Yes, there was an amputated head. I did not see the need for Kevin Bacon's character in the film though. He did not seem to add much to the film except to establish the fact that Franny had a pension for picking up strange guys and tried to discard them when she was through having sex with them. I guess the reason he is present is to show the connection she had with Detective Malloy and how her habits changed, but I think that is it.
From Dr. Boles' warning or disclaimer of the movie, I thought that you would see grotesque body parts dripping with blood or intenstines oozing blood, something reminiscent of Seven but it was not there. I guess that is the difference between a male and female director. In the Cut focused more on telling the story through colors like red and green fabrics, dulling the lights or distorting the images. It creates more of an uncertainty and suspense without being to out of the ordinary. In the Cut also told the story through poetry and references back to the main character's family.
The slow motion sequences of her parents are shown like old time romantic films but slowly transform into a horror sequence or nightmare to show how her father cut her mom to pieces so to speak when he left her. This also draws on the fact that Franny thinks she is closely involved with the killer.

Cut It Out...

The Cut was by far the most vulgar and disturbing film I have ever seen. I have seen some twisted horror films with blood and bodies and I have seen films with intense sex scenes, but the combination of both intense gore and sex was just too much to handle. There was no chance to relax. People were either performing intense sex acts or disgusting human remains were being found. I still can’t get a grasp on how much nastiness I saw in within a two hour span, and I’m haven even harder time synthesizing everything that happened.
As the movie began I had a hard time figuring out the setting, time, characters, purpose, etc. It took me almost fifteen minutes to get my bearings and sort out who is who, where they are, what they are doing, etc. Meg Ryan’s character was very ambiguous and I wasn’t sure what her profession was and where she was going. I was really irritated by the fact that so much information wasn’t presented and it took so long to answer my questions. It made following the films progression somewhat difficult, and I would assume that it would be helpful to watch the film a second time.
The relationship between Meg and her student was also ambiguous and I found it difficult to understand where it fit into the rest of the film. I felt like there were too many characters with side plots going on so it was hard to find the common thread among them. There was just too much going on; all the viewer needed to see was the progression of Meg and Mark’s relationship, as well as the progression of the serial killers killings.
In terms of the directing I noticed a lot of interesting color choices. There were a lot of dreary blues and grays with splashes of bright erotic red. There were never even scenes with bright colors or bright light from the sun. The scenes were always dreary, dark, and depressing. Obviously Campion was making a statement with those color choices. I also noticed there unique camera angles that put the viewer in the car, the apartment, the bar, etc.
All in all I found the film to be interesting, but I don’t feel comfortable saying that I enjoyed the film because I don’t know how you can enjoy watching intimate, graphic, and sometimes vulgar sex scenes paired with gory, blood, and always-vulgar murder scenes. And the all around tone of the film was far from cheery and enjoyable.

In the Cut

In the Cut was at all what I had expected. I was a little nervous that it was going to be really graphic (which is was) and a lot of blood and violence. I am one of the worst people to watch a scary or bloody movie with because i am so jumpy and get scared easily. Gun shots and loud noises, or suspense make me crazy in movies. However, when I see a movie that I don’t need to cover my eyes in a lot, I usually like it. I have a lot of mixed feelings about In the Cut. The story I really liked, even though I was really sad when the sister died. I thought Meg Ryan was really great in this role, which is interesting because she usually is very innocent and perky. I think it is good to give and actor a role that is different than what they are used to. I wasn’t able to watch any of the scenes with dead bodies (luckily there were only two) but I think it was necessary to have it that graphic in order to show the intensity. I was a little confused by the end. Malloy and Rodriguez were partners and really good friends. They got the 3 of spades tattoo together and they’re obviously close. Did Malloy know that whole time that Rodriguez was the killer? Or did he realize it when he was handcuffed in Franny’s apartment? If he did know about it, why did he pretend that he didn’t? This movie was completely unpredictable! Even though I said in one of my previous blogs that I like being able to predict movies, I actually liked that I couldn’t predict this one. The entire movie I kept saying “Cornelius is the killer!” or “Malloy is the killer” or Kevin Bacon’s character, and I kept finding evidence or quotes that they said that made me think that. For example, I was sure the Bacon was the killer at one point because he had said “ I took a shower” and then the next scene Pauline was dead in the shower. I am assuming that this was Campion’s intention. The detective ( I think his name was Rodriguez) was one of the last guys that I predicted to be the murderer

Something that stood out was that in many scenes with Malloy, his tattoo on his wrist was showing. Now I know that it is in a very visible place, but I only saw it when he and Franny were alone together, and in many scenes when his hands were on her head, or when they were being intimate, which is exactly how she had noticed it on the detective receiving oral sex. I think Campion definitely chose when the viewer would see the tattoo and where his hand would be at the time. The color red was very prominent in the movie. It was everywhere all the time. Red can have so many meanings! It stood for passion, and violence and intensity. It also represented fear and death. All in all, I didn’t mind the movie. It was a little too graphic for my taste, but I like detective stories and it kind of reminded me slightly of CSI. I wouldn’t say that I really liked it, but I also didn’t really dislike it. I think that Campion is a very interesting, and talented director and I am interested in seeing other films by her.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

And Red Comes Tumbling Down

In The Cut

The color red is so prominent in this film, it is often difficult to decide what exactly Campion is trying to depict with it. For the most part red is used as a sexual or dangerous color, as would be expected. However, there are a few scenes that stick out in my head as being uncharacteristic to this assumption and sometimes even disturbing to associate with those concepts. One scene in particular is when Franny and Malloy are in the car and Franny sees a little girl run down the street in a red dress next to a red car. I would think that such a young character would not be put in red because of her innocence. The only explanation I can come up with for that is possibly showing the danger that girl is in running around a bad neighborhood alone. Another place where I felt I had to interpret the color red was in Franny’s apartment. She has a red curtain around the window that overlooks the garden, which I take to suggest that that is where she would have seen the body parts and sees her stalker ex boyfriend, which are both dangerous and predatorial. In Franny’s bathroom, in the scene where Malloy is bathing her, the wall tiles are red. This reminded me not only of the sexual innuendo of him bathing her, but also of the blood-streaked walls in Pauline’s bathroom. In a way, that was a hint at what was to come between Franny and Malloy’s partner. Red is everywhere in this film. As powerful of a color as it is, if I were directing this movie I would constantly be concerned about overusing it. I often was reminded of The Sixth Sense when we watched this movie, and how M. Night Shyamalan made it a point to only have red in scenes where there was a ghost present. If there was ever any unintentional red in a shot, they would cut, remove it, and shoot again. I was constantly finding all the pieces of red in the scenes of In The Cut and trying to figure out what each meant, if anything at all. I feel that if Campion had been more particular about when and where there was red, especially in the backgrounds and edges of scenes, then that color would have had an even more striking impact.


Disarticulate means to separate at the joints.



In the Cut

I was really not expecting the film to be the way it was because Meg Ryan was in it. This film can be similar to the other films we watched but one could also argue that it was very different from the other films we watched.

It's similar in that the main character (like the other movies we watched) was a woman facing conflict and confusion in her life. Like The Piano, Meg Ryan is still 'finding herself' the way Ada was, and is forced to choose between 2 or more men. Meg Ryan seems to face the problem of potential sex partners, just as Ada did. Also, Meg Ryan can relate to experimenting with new people the way that Alex in Laurel Canyon had. Though she wasn't over-the-edge like Alex seemed to be, they still show some similarities. Meg Ryan also seems to be a bit lost and confused with her world, just as Scarlett in Lost in Translation was going through in her marriage/Tokyo. The usage of male characters, particularly aggressive ones when it comes to women, was very similar in all of the movies we watched- the husband in The Piano and Ian in Laurel Canyon.

This movie is different than the other films in that it is much more graphic and violent than all the others (though The Piano has one graphic scene of the finger getting chopped off.) In Laurel Canyon there was nothing nearly as violent as what we saw in In the Cut. Also, there tends to be a lot more foreshadowing in this movie (not to say there is none in any of the others,) but we tend to see a lot more of it in this film. This film also leads us in many different directions, unlike the other films where we could see DIRECT foreshadowing.

In the Cut

Foreshadowing is used heavily in this film, starting from the first shots. During the opening scene, a red flower with an angel’s halo is painted onto the sidewalk as the camera shows quick scenes of a busy city. In addition, one of Frannie’s student’s says “’how many old ladies have to die’ – ‘at least three’” is the response. This is foreshadowing that at least three women will die during the course of the movie. Once seeing the film, this image comes to mind as representing Detective Malloy. This is so because he is represented as the bad guy with the theme of red that is present throughout the movie, but instead he is good and an angel in disguise. Foreshadowing is used deceptively in this movie to give the audience impressions of characters that are later revealed to have been woven in to throw off viewers. Another image that uses foreshadowing although it is deceptive is when Meg Ryan is playing with the business card and the screen shows a clear shot of Detective Malloy’s name while the narration of a murderer is going on. Scenes like when Malloy asks Frannie to marry him, just as the murderer’s trademark is a wedding band, or when he comments “this looks like a place where they dump bodies” gives the incorrect impression that he is the murderer. Many scenes use red to foreshadow, an example of this is when Frannie is at the police station and Detective Rodriguez’s face is framed by a painted red door. Because red is a symbol of murder and guilt, in this scene, it is pointing a finger at him, but indirectly because there are many scenes in which red illuminates certain characters. During the movie I noted everything that was done in red. My count was seventy different instances of red objects and lighting, but I am sure there were many I did not include as well. Just this large number shows the importance of red to the movie's theme and plot.

The sex in this movie is very express and intense. Campion’s stance on this issue is shown when Frannie says “slang is either sexual or violent or both”, meaning that sex and violence go hand in hand in the opinion of many. This film shows a very up close and personal view of sex. The first scene like this is in the bar, where there is a zoomed in picture of oral sex. Campion obviously sees a strong relationship between sex and violence towards women. This can be seen by the fact that the murder victims are all women and the crime was sexually involved. It is prominent that a woman wrote this because they recognize the issues and probably was touched by sexually influenced violence at a point in her life. This film is very surprising and shocking, and I am unsure how I feel about its storyline or character’s actions.

In the Cut

Jane Campion's In the Cut was definitely the most sexual and violent of all the films we have watched so far, and if I hadn't known it was written and directed by a woman, I would never have thought so. I think that the portrayal of sex was seen more from a male point of view. Women were seen primarily as sex objects, and this was shown by the men frequently engaging in conversations in which they discuss sex in very vulgar ways. Sex is seen in a very unromantic way, and so it seems much more like a masculine point of view. The men in the film are thus portrayed in a negative way, because all of them are misogynistic and horny, with sex as the one thing on their mind. However, this is not presented in the feminist "men are pigs" kind of way, but rather is shown as just the way men are. The portrayal of women is not much better. All of them are extremely passive. Franny's sister is pretty much clueless, and seems to have the physicality of sex and the emotion of love to be confused with each other. The one romantic image in the movie, about Franny's parents, is an obvious fantasy that exists in a faraway time, and is ruined by her own violent imaginings. It was difficult to figure out Franny's character. She was obviously sad and lonely, but it was difficult to figure out her motivations for much of the film - this was probably done to add to the suspense. I didn't really see a point to the movie, other than it being a thriller. It seemed to somehow excuse men for their acts of violence, as if they were lashing out against the seductive hold that women have on them. This was shown by Molloy talking about the older woman who seduced him when he was a young teen, Kevin Bacon's character talking about how his mother dressed him in girl's clothes, and most blatantly by Cornelius defending John Wayne Gacy, saying that killers are "victims of desire."

Campion did a good job of creating a dark, urban world of suspense for the film. Most of the scenes were darkly lit or bathed in a garish, yellowish light, which gave the scenes a sense of claustrophobia. The only bright color in the film was red, which popped up frequently and seemed symbolize sex, violence, or both. The lighthouse was red and was an obvious phallic symbol, so it seems that it represented the inherently sexual and violent nature of males. There were also many blurry shots in the film or the camera would be extremely close to the characters so that they were indistinguishable, both of which gave a more sexual feel to these scenes. This film and The Piano left me wondering about how Jane Campion portrays love interests. In this film Franny and Molloy's relationship mostly consisted of the physical, and he was threatening throughout most of the film. I found him pretty creepy initially, which was what I also thought of Baines. Campion seems to find something alluring about threatening men, and she seems to see sex as a way for men and women to connect emotionally. I found this film pretty disturbing because its portrayal of both males and females was fairly negative, and although I admire Campion for breaking gender stereotypes, I find her lack of romance (or unconventional view of it) very dark.

Meg Ryan Interview

In the Cut- the role of sexuality in the film

In the Cut, another Jane Champion film is a dark and erotic tale of one woman’s descent into the violent and sexual underbelly of New York City. Frannie Avery is a reclusive middle aged English professor living in New York City, looking for inspiration in a life of quiet desperation and unhappiness. Sexuality, and sex itself plays a huge role in this film. Sex is first presented to Frannie in the back room of The Red Turtle where she witnesses a tattooed man receiving a blow job. This scene, (in which a penis is shown in detail) is bathed in a dark red light, which obscures the identity of both the man and the woman. Initially, Frannie is shocked by this sight but soon she is transfixed and unable to look away. This scene has many functions, one of them being the awakening of Frannie’s latent sexuality. Also, it provides a stark contrast to the rest of the sex scenes in the film, which reveal Frannie receiving sexual pleasure. The man in this situation is clearly in a position of power, perhaps a foreshadowing to the conclusion of the film where he is revealed as the serial killer. Malloy’s partner enjoys sexual and extremely violent relations with women. Here is another instance in the film where the line between sex and violence is blurred. Sexuality is also expressed from the perspective of Pauline, Frannie’s promiscuous step sister, who through an affair with a married man has become somewhat of a stalker. Pauline is quite liberal with her sexuality, as shown by her makeup and the way she dresses in a form fitting red dress. Frannie’s makeup and costume in contrast are much more drab and subdued, consisting of the color brown. When Frannie begins her sexual relationship with detective Malloy, she appears to be the one getting satisfied, which could be traced back to the fact that this film is directed by a woman. Indeed, in the last sex scene between Frannie and Malloy, she gets off while he is hand cuffed to the radiator. This shows how even the female character has taken up violence. This sex scene, as well as the many other sex scenes throughout the film is filmed with a red light. Red of course carries very strong connotations of anger, violence (blood), lust, and even love. Frannie’s dress in the radiator scene is even a sexy red and matches her lipstick and heels. This provocative outfit is also the one she is wearing when the actual killer takes her to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is also red and very symbolic. Lighthouses bring light and hope to those in the dark (Frannie). They show lost ones the way home and bring them back. Indeed, Frannie is able to save herself (a sign of an empowered woman) and find her way home.

Multimedia Gloss Woman

In the Cut

This movie was not the typical Meg Ryan film; however, I think she did a great job of portraying her character. The movie was very suspenseful, and had me guessing who the killer was until the very end. I could not help but notice that like The Piano, this movie also had a very unrealistic story of the mother and father. Child-like animation was used like the burning man in the piano, this time by playing the ice skating scene in fast motion and using exaggerated facial expressions. Campion used a lot of symbols and clues throughout the movie. Campion showed multiple American flags during the movie, and also uses the lighthouse as a clue to the ending. Frannie, played by Meg Ryan, is teaching the children about the book entitled “To the Lighthouse,” Detective Rodriguez has a lighthouse on his desk, and of course, that is where he takes Frannie to try to kill her. Campion also uses poetry to set the scene. Every time Frannie takes the subway, she reads the poetry in transit, and it relates to the storyline. I think that it shows that this movie was created by women since all the men in this movie are seen as the potential murderer. Frannie cannot trust any man she knows; her student is crazy, her ex is crazy also, she saw Detective Malloy with the first victim, and Detective Rodriguez was the actual killer. This is why the entire movie is so suspenseful; because essentially every man in the movie could be the killer. This movie was quite gruesome and vulgar, but I found that I didn’t leave it disturbed in any way (perhaps because I covered my eyes whenever it was going to be disgusting). This could also be because the movie is created by women; although it is quite vulgar and brutal, I think it was for a purpose, unlike other movies which tend to have blood and sex just to please a certain audience. I think that the story required the dead bodies and needed to show the specific way in which they were killed in order for us to figure out the ending better. The sex was quite vulgar at times, but I think if the sex between Malloy and Frannie was intimate and romantic, he would seem less like a suspect.

In the Cut

“In the Cut” was a great film. The movie was so intense that it kept you intrigued for the whole two hours. Besides having an extremely riveting plot, Campion did a great job with the filming. One thing I particularly noticed about the film was how the camera was used. The camera shots were often taken from a distance. It was as if you were following Meg Ryan. I also noticed that there were very few clear shots. Many of the times there were things in front of the camera or blurry shots. I think this fit perfectly with the blurry plot that was taking place. I also noticed the use of color. Red was a prominent color in the film that often signified something important or meant to stand out. I also noticed that there was a continuous theme/showing of the red white and blue theme. There were many patriotic color schemes. The lighting also helped do this. The lighting was often above Meg Ryan to illuminate her and usually a dim yellow. This made the scenes feel eerie and mysterious. One thing that I was surprised from since the movie was directed by a woman, was how women were made into such sex symbols. Throughout the entire film, there were naked women, hookers, and women having their lives run by men. I thought that the female sex was degraded significantly. I thought Campion did a great job of continuously throwing off the viewer about who the killer was. At first I was almost positive it was the detective, than I thought that it was that crazy stalker, and than the student. Not until the end did I realize that it was his partner. Overall, I really enjoyed watching this film. Although it was really vulgar, I found it to be really exciting and suspenseful.


In the Cut

Wow, what an intense movie! Campion packed “In the Cut” with erotic scenes, jump out of your seat moments, and tons of suspense, not to mention a constant use of the color red and different camera angles. Campion certainly put cinematography to use in this film as well as in her other film “The Piano.” The way she positioned the camera, for example, to follow Meg Ryan down the stairs when looking for the bathroom in the Red Dragon added to the suspense and drew me in as an audience member. This was very similar to what Campion did in “The Piano” when she followed Ada behind the trees. Maybe it was the thrilling storyline, but it seems that as a filmmaker Campion has progressed in her ways of filming from one of her first films “The Piano” to “In the Cut.”

It was also very different to see Meg Ryan in this type of role. Usually in chick flicks like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally” we are used to seeing Meg Ryan as a fun and loving character. This was not the typical role for her, but one she definitely played well. It may seem as if Meg Ryan’s character Charlotte is a career driven woman, but it is clear by her relationship with Detective Malloy she is looking for love in a world where it is hard to find. This is evident in the conversations between Charlotte and her sister.

Back to Campion’s use of mise-en-scene the color red is used all over this movie. It seems that in every shot, every scene there is something red. This is even applied to the name of the bar where the woman with the blue fingernails is killed, Red Dragon. Also, the constant reference to the red lighthouse plays an important role. First it is being taught in Charlotte’s class, and then we find one on Detective Malloy’s partner’s desk, and finally the scene where Charlotte shoots the killer is done in a red lighthouse.

The end was a little odd when Meg Ryan walks back to her apartment from the lighthouse drenched in blood; however, I guess there was some happiness in knowing that she probably does end up with Detective Malloy. This is not a movie I would watch everyday, but I did enjoy the acting and storyline.

The color red was more than prominent in the movie “In the Cut”, it was in every scene, whether from a coke can in the background, or from the bright red dress of the main character. That particular meaningful color was even obvious by the frequent scenes full of blood. The movie was perhaps one of the darker films that we have watched in the course of this class, and I think the red that accents that feeling, it justifies the darkness. It was certainly far different from the piano, but I guess I could see some similarities.

For example, both the leading ladies, Ada and the main character of “In the Cut”, seem so lonely and out of place. Not to mention that they are dealing with life changing experiences while coping with that suffocating loneliness. However, to go back to the topic of colors, especially in the movie “In the Cut”, I thought that making the color red so outstanding made the movie that much more visually appealing. The color kind of subliminally gave messages to the ending of the movie, about blood, and death. That color was everywhere, on papers, through the red lighting of car lights, and even in the clothing of surrounding characters. Was there a pattern in the way that the color red made it’s way from character to character? I mean because in the beginning, the main character’s sister was wearing it, and in the end the main character herself was wearing that deadly color.

Overall, I could see similarities between the two of her films, through the very specific colorings of the backgrounds, to the personalities of the male and female characters. However, the movie "In the Cut" left me far more disturbed as a viewer than the movie "the Piano" ever could.

lost in translation

Lost in Translation (2003) by Sophia Coppola was a film all about loneliness and people finding comfort in each other. The main characters Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and Bob Harris (Bill Murray) find themselves isolated in Japan a foreign country where they both stand out of place. For Murray it is his size, and for Johansson it is her blonde hair that separates them from the Japanese people around them. These are small features that play a major role in developing the loneliness of both characters. To augment this emotion within her film Coppola uses jet lag as a tool promoting the desperation of the character’s situations.
On the other side of the world the internal clock of both characters are thrown askew, stressed and unhappy neither one can sleep. This fact cerates a tension between the two main characters and everyone and everything around them. Even when they find each other, and gain the ability to talk about the things that are troubling them sleep remains an issue. In a moment of bonding both Murray and Johansson are lying in Murray’s bed discussing life and marriage, in a moment of utter tenderness and love that is almost totally asexual, because neither one could sleep. Coppola doesn’t discuss whether the lack of sleep is do to the unhappiness of the characters or the time zones, however, in this scene only when the sun begins to rise do both Murray and Johansson fall asleep.
Coppola’s use of foreignness makes this movie. The setting, the changes the characters experience, the distance between them and the rest of the world is what makes this movie’s so important. It discusses very truthfully the feelings of isolation that everyone feel at some point, and the choices that we all must make in order to live.

Lost in translation

Lost in Translation is a story about two Americans, a man and a woman who are staying in Tokyo, Japan. Everything from the language, to the environment is foreign and doesn’t fit them. Bob Harris is an aging actor who cant find work in movies anymore, so he is in Tokyo to shoot a commercial advertising Japanese whiskey. Harris has lost all the enjoyment in his life, he barely smiles and is distant from his family in America and he feels his kids miss him but don’t need him anymore. The relationship Harris has with this American woman staying at the hotel begins as just company, a friend who speaks the same language and is willing to listen. Although they are both married they soon start feeling attraction towards each other. When Harris puts the American girl to sleep, it makes him want to call his wife and connect with her and his family. Harris progresses from having no feeling or interest in his life, to having emotion and attraction. Harris also accustoms himself to his surroundings, as he begins to live his life again he starts to enjoy the japanese food, can stand watching the Japanese tv, starts going out and enjoying the nightlife. Once Harris starts enjoying himself through this girl, trivial matters that bothered him, like the color of his desk at home and the shower to short for him, don’t phase him anymore. The film is directed and written by a female, though I could not tell until the credits were shown. Unlike the past few films we watched, this movie is less about having relationships or sex, but about finding connections with another and finding happiness in life. I also liked the characters in this film, which had a small amount of dialogue, as the movie was very quiet and driven by visuals not audio. The characters seemed very deep although they didn’t have much to say, but their actions and their expressions told the story for the audience.

laurel canyon

Laurel Canyon is a film directed and written by Lisa Cholodenko about a man and his fiancé that stay at his mothers house and get wrapped up in each other’s lifestyles. The man, Sam grew up with his free spirited, ever-inebriated mother and her wild nature has turned him away from her. Instead of smoking marijuana, having consensual sex whenever desired, and joining the entertainment industry he went to Harvard medical school and became a doctor. He is very tense by nature and concerned about the atmosphere of his mothers house for his fiancé, who also is in the medical profession trying to finish her dissertation. Throughout the movie we see the mother’s adverse effect on her son, pushing him further and further away as they never seem to be sharing the same wavelengths or feelings, until Sam is confronted by an overdosing ecstasy patient whose mother reminds him a lot of himself. The last main character is the lead singer of the band whos record Sam’s mother is producing, who is also in a relationship with Sam’s mother. Sam grew up around these interweaving relationships and hates his mother for it, because she was concerned with her own fun instead of raising him. Ian, the British singer is exteremely endearing towards Sam’s fiancé and ends up tempting her into sexual relations as she finds herself catching up on the experiences of her life she skipped through being such a hard worker. The film is very intricate in its characters relationships which intertwine again and again throughout the movie, and the plot is carried by its characters personalities and actions rather than events which change their lives. Sam eventually falls for a woman a lot like himself, another doctor, but realizes he loves his wife, who is intrigued and tempted by the singer. At the end of the film all the relations between all the characters are discovered and Sam and his mother come to terms like they never have before and are finally happy and in their place.

Lost in Translation, Found in Tokyo

Lost In Translation

This movie is about Charlotte’s search for meaning in a world that isn’t her own. Because of her boredom of being in an unfamiliar place with no familiar places, she seeks out Bob’s company, probably since she senses the same feeling of being lost in him. I feel that this relationship, in contrast to those in the last two movies, is more based on companionship than sexual attraction. They both are in a place mentally where they have nothing but their problems and depressions to focus on. They use their first night out as both an ice breaker and a way to forget about their problems for a night. You can tell how much of a comfort their company is to each other in the simple fact that after their night out they are able to sleep for the first time since being in Tokyo. I don’t think that Charlotte is at all attracted to the fact that Bob is a famous movie star, as everyone else is, and that is what makes him interested in her. She just sees him as someone relatable, and from he same culture, who is willing to spend time with her. Bob definitely becomes a mentor, almost parental figure, to Charlotte, which strengthens their relationship even more. As apparent as it is that they will get involved with each other because of the pain they are both feeling from their spouses’ lack of intimacy with them, I was relieved to see them not become involved with each other sexually. I think that added a level of purity and contentment to the relationship, rather than going for the more raw, popularly satiating sex scenes. I feel that if they had been more intimate, there would have been a dramatic heartbreak, but the way it was concluded made me feel more content.


Lost in Translation

Although I like Sophia Coppola, I am not a fan of Lost in Translation. I felt like it dragged on and had no plot. I definitely see a common theme of Coppola between Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette. Both films had very little plot and had a lot of showing rather than telling. Also, both films used lots of fun sounds and colors. Marie Antoinette was also wearing lots of pastel fun colors; in Lost in Translation the night life and streets of Tokyo were exciting and vibrant. I am a fan of Bill Murray, I think that he was a good actor for this role because he was boring at first but then as the movie went on we got to see him open up and become exciting when out and a very good conversationalist. I feel as though Sophia Coppola didn’t have a bias towards women. Neither character was doing anything bad or good. However, Coppola adds in the character of Kelly who is a ditzy, wild actress. Although Kelly is a woman, and not portrayed in the most positive way, I feel as though Coppola is making fun of celeberties rather than women. The movie was not predictable, which some people would say is good. I personally like predicting what will happen, it makes it more fun for me. I started guess a little bit of what I though what happen which was that they were both going to cheat on their spouses. Then I thought maybe Charlotte’s husband would catch them. Even though that was what I had predicted I didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t want them to have more than friendship because he’s so much older than her. At the end, when he kisses her that was fine but I would have rather them have more of a brother-sister or father-daughter relationship. I was shocked when Bob slept with the red head singer. He didn’t even appear to be guilty about it. He was easily able to say “I love you” to his wife and he seems like a respectable guy with Charlotte. Again, I think that Coppola was making fun at celeberties and how they cheat rather than a bias towards a gender.

Lost in Translation ZzzZz

I thought Lost in Translation was a little on the boring side, and I struggled to find Coppolla’s meaning behind the story. The other two movies we watched have really effected and intrigued me, but I was bored watching today’s movie. Bill Murray was pretty funny throughout and I laughed, but I really didn’t find any meaning to the film. I know that it won all kinds of awards, but I was not impressed. Even now when I’m trying to blog about the film, I have very little to say.
Charlotte and Bob are lonely characters, who have lost the meaning in their lives. Bob is washed out has been actor promoting alcohol, and Charlotte is a highly intelligent woman following her husband around while he pursues his photography career. Both characters are in dead end relationships and struggle to communicate with their significant others. A classmate pointed out that every time Bob tries to talk to his wife on the phone she struggles to hear him and they never really connect. Charlotte struggles to communicate with her husband, and often times is unable to convey her feelings, and more often is unable to talk with her husband because he is too busy.
Together the two characters are able to express themselves, share their feelings, and be who they want to be. They enjoy each other’s company and spend most of their time together. The movie follows them through their journeys through Tokyo and not much else. The most intriguing seen was at the end when Bob is ready to return to the states, and must leave Charlotte behind. There is this moment when you wonder whether or not they are going to abandon their lives and start fresh with each other. That ending of course would be too predictable and stereotypical of a romantic film, and being that this is an independent film totally unacceptable. Instead we are left with Bob whispering something in Charlotte’s ear and then leaving. It is unknown what Bob said and whether or not they plan to reunite. It is a very frustrating ending!!

Lost in Translation

In Lost in Translation, there is always something underlying what is said and is not said between Bob and his wife, Bob and Charlotte and Charlotte and her husband. Their voices say something but their respective spouses aren't hearing it or what they are really saying; they are not reading between the lines. Charlotte's and Bob's thoughts are not being translated from the brain to the words that are coming out of their mouths when they are saying it to their spouses.

It is reflected in the scene when Bob Harris is doing the Japanese commercial where the director says something in Japanese that is so long and when it is translated to Bob, it seems so short and there is something lost between it being said in Japanese and translated in English.
The characters' glances speak volumes also but only Charlotte and Bob understand these glances. Charlotte's husband does not see her look of longing for something more fulfilling in her life but Bob understands it because he is going through the same sort of issue with his mid life crisis. Bob and Charlotte find a companionship in each other that they can not find in their spouses. Their eyes speak for what isn't being said; it's just understood. They have this connection that is unspoken. Bob and Charlotte are able to banter back and forth unlike they are able to do with other people.

The end raises many questions: What is going to happen between them? Are they going to see each other? What did he say? Is she going to keep talking to him? Is she going to become more than friends with him? Does their friendship end there? Where do they go from there?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

multimedia gloss

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation follows the relationship of two strangers as they develop a deep friendship and this helps them through a difficult time in each of their lives. Bob Harris who is Japan shoot a whiskey commercial is clearly unhappy; this is showed through his emotions and relationship with his wife. Charlotte is in new and different environment with her husband who pays more attention to his work than he does to her. In this new environment Charlotte begins to question why she married her husband and what she is suppose to do with her life. She begins searching for meaning in her life; however she has a hard time finding any answers. From since the first time Bob sees Charlotte he seems interested in her. As they both go through their time in Japan they are searching for something and that is when they find each other.
Coppola does a great job showing the intimate relationship that is shared between Bob and Charlotte which unlike the other movies we have watched does not necessarily consist of a sexual element but more of an emotional one. Before Charlotte and Bob begin spending time with each other they are lonely, restless and trying to make sense of this new environment. The pace of the film is slow at this point and the characters wear dull colored clothing. However, the first night they go out together Bob is wearing a colorful shirt and the pace is a lot faster with flashing colorful and bright lights. The relationship between the two is playful and carefree, unlike with their significant others. With her husband Charlotte seems to uncomfortable and lost and with his wife Bob is tense and experiences anxiety.
In this film water is also used to express a feeling of renewal and release. As evident in the scene where Bob is in the hot tub and he sinks down under the water after having a conversation with his wife. Though Coppola does show that Bob and Charlotte have romantic feelings for each other, the ending does not predict that they will leave their spouses to be with each other. Instead I believe that their relationship is an experience that will enable them to go back to living their lives.


I really liked Lost in Translation the best out of all the movies that we have seen this week. This movie made the most sense to me. Bob and Charlotte were like two lost souls in Tokyo. Actually I take that back because Bob wasn’t necessarily a lost soul he was just at a really strange point in his life. He was distanced from his family and judging from the conversations with his wife Bob was not a strong figure in his own home. His little girl ran from the phone instead of talking to him and he couldn’t get his child to eat anything. Usually with little kids when one parent is gone the kid is so excited to talk to them and will probably do what they want over the phone because they miss them and want to make them happy. The relationship between Bob and Charlotte wasn’t really romantic or sexual in anyway. It seemed as if they just enjoyed one another’s company. To be in a foreign country alone really took a toll on both Bob and Charlotte. Bob spent all his time taking direction from other people in terms of how to act, pose, where to be, even who to sleep with. Swimming in the pool provided an attempt at solitude. But when Bob was swimming in the pool he was still plagued by the loud music and images of older women jumping around. When Charlotte swam she was truly alone and it made me think that that experience is probably what Bob needed and Bob’s swimming experience is what Charlotte needed. Charlotte seemed to be searching for beauty, meaning, truth, validation, something. She was always observing someone else experience life on their own terms and she would either make judgments or try to take from their experience and make it her own. The relationship between them was very father-daughter. When they were lying on the bed talking about marriage and life and if things ever get easier Charlotte was in the fetal position while Bob just relaxed and open. Bob had a moment like in Laurel Canyon when his wife was calling him and the ringer was all hectic and he just sank down into the tub. I liked the premise of the movie and how each character was at a crossroads in their life. The plight of each character seemed very realistic to me. Oh I do have a question though. WHAT DID BOB WHISPER IN HER EAR?!?!

Lets never come here again

Lost in Translation by Sofia Coppola is a subtle film about the disillusionment and loneliness we all feel at some point in our lives. Both of the main characters in this film (Charlotte and Bob) are feeling isolated and lonely while visiting Tokyo. Although they appear to be in different places in their lives, these two form a meaningful connection.
Charlotte is a young graduate wondering what to do with her life and her marriage. Her photographer husband leaves her to fend for herself in Tokyo. Their marriage is appears passionless and shallow. Charlotte’s husband is preoccupied with his work and other superficial thoughts, while she is plagued by pursuing her purpose in life. Tokyo, as the setting of the film is represented by vivid and graphic colors and bustling hordes of people. Scenes like the one where Charlotte attempts to navigate the Tokyo subway show her isolation and how difficult it is to be trapped by cultural and linguistic differences. The fact that Charlotte does not speak the language also further cuts her off from society.
Bob on the other hand is a has-been actor, now in his 50s forced to do Japanese whiskey ads. He is frustrated with his stale marriage and stagnant career. As Charlotte correctly diagnoses in the film Bob is suffering from a mid-life crisis, wondering what has become of his life. Bob’s wife Lydia sends him carpet samples and bugs him about shelves which further exasperate his feelings of emptiness. What Bob really needs is validation and someone to listen to him. Charlotte provides this support, and Bob in return teaches her some truths about marriage and life. I believe one of the most poignant lines in the film is “Let's never come here again because it will never be as much fun.” Charlotte realizes that Tokyo was a unique situation that allowed her and Bob to form a special relationship. Out in the ‘real world’ a relationship between a twenty year old woman and a fifty year old man would be unlikely to be supported, or even accepted by society. In addition, the circumstances that brought the two together in this period of their lives is fleeting and can never be recaptured.
Ms. Coppola has inherited her father’s unique talent of creating rich pictures in every frame of the film; pictures more telling than a thousand words. Although the dialogue is sparse, one can not help but walk away from this film feeling full from sharing in a unique and intimate human experience.

Lost in Translation

I thought Lost in Translation was an excellent film. The ending disappointed me though, as I do not like cliffhangers. In this movie, like the other 2 movies we have watched, there is ''love confusion.'' Both characters, Bob and Scarlett, seem to be suffering from bad relationships/bad marriages. Scarlett's husband is a photographer who seems to spend more time doing things with his work and his friends than with his wife; this is something that affects Scarlett negatively. Scarlett (before meeting Bob) really had no one to talk to about it. Her mother on the phone was barely willing to listen and she obviously never raised the subject with her husband either. This may have been out of fear of his reaction. Thus, she tends to take on a submissive role with men. When meeting Bob, she begins to experiment a little bit more with the other side of her life (as does Ada in The Piano and Alex in Laurel Canyon.)

Bob Harris is an old movie star who is doing a commercial in Tokyo. He also has love-life problems as it seems his marriage is falling apart (which is more than likely his fault, we get this hint in the beginning of the movie when he receives a note saying he forgot his sons birthday.) Bob also has no one to talk to about it, as he is in a foreign city with no real friends. He meets Scarlett and they both discover they have a common ground. Like Sam in Laurel Canyon, he begins to also experiment with a different part of his life.

Both of them eventually become good friends, and we as the audience may or may not have gotten the vibe that there was some romance going on (despite the age difference.) This is further reinforced by the kissing at the end of the movie.

Although we never really know for sure what happens, we can be sure that Bob probably whispered in Scarlett's ear his address or contact info for when she goes back to the states.

Multimedia Gloss Sexy

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation is a film about two characters who come together in their feelings of isolation in a foreign place. Charlotte and Bob develop a strong friendship through their mutual feelings of loneliness and confusion about their lives. Charlotte is newly married and unsure what she wants to do now, especially professionally. Bob has been married for a while but has clearly grown apart from his family – his telephone conversations with his wife are chilly and his children leave the room when invited to speak to him on the phone. Later in the movie he tries to act as a parent from so far away, telling his wife to tell their daughter that he said she needed to sleep. The wife doesn’t seem to pay attention to him and he certainly fails to reach his daughter. Charlotte has similar issues with distance – beyond her never-present husband who seems to be flirting with a woman he photographs, when she tells her friend over the phone “I don’t know who I married,” it’s as if she didn’t say anything at all. It’s these similar problems that lead to the somewhat unlikely-seeming friendship between Bob and Charlotte. Neither of them initially are able to sleep in Tokyo, but after they have become friends there is a scene where Charlotte falls asleep and Bob carries her to bed. This is included as an indication of the emotional significance of their friendship.

Bob obviously feels very awkward in Tokyo. Coppola uses shots of him in a crowded elevator, standing much taller than everyone surrounding him, to emphasize his discomfort. Although Bob is a celebrity, some of the most clearly uncomfortable scenes are when he’s on camera. His awkward commercial shoot and appearance on a very strange talkshow are not only uncomfortable and confusing because of culture and language barriers but because they serve as reminders that his career has peaked.

Charlotte’s isolation is expressed through the things she does in her hotel room. Her husband leaves her there with little to do – she ends up decorating the room with flowers and calling a friend who doesn’t listen to her. When she does go out, she seems uncomfortable in the same way Bob does, for example, when she sees a man looking at a pornographic cartoon on the subway. It is their isolation that brings these two characters together and creates a very deep sense of friendship.

Lost in Translation

I liked this movie but there were a lot of things I did not understand. I think Coppola wanted people to be a little bit confused about why things happened the way they did. First of all, Bill Murray lost about 30 lbs from the last time I saw him in a movie. He looked skinny. Scarlet Johansson is a major babe. As I said, I enjoyed this movie especially because it was filmed in Japan and the people were hilarious.

Again, However why do we see this reoccurring theme of husbands and wives sneaking around? These women directors have sick minds. I would like to know all their history's. I wonder if they have had some horrible experiences with men in their lives, because I do not think they are big fans of the males. You could definitely get a sense of Bill Murray questioning how good his marriage was when he was in the bath/hot tub and the phone conversation takes place. The two are so bland and dry on the phone it seemed like they hated eachother.

This film was defintely odd in a number of ways. Having it in Tokyo for one, as well as Bill Murray a guy in his mid 50s falling for a girl that at the time of the film was 18 years old. (ripe for the picking) Also the fact that he went all the way out there for 2 million dollars to do a Whiskey commercial. Odd, but I guess I like that kind of random idea in a movie with Bill Murray. I really do not know what else to say about this film, I liked it, but I do not believe it has many parallels with the previous two. I thought that the annoying girl that was singing all the time was funny too, what a ditz. I thought the acting was great and the movie was good. I will definitely have to see it again because there are many things I did not pick up the first time.

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation is a movie that is about two people, Bob and Charlotte, stuck in Tokyo. I could sympathize with Bob and Charlotte being in a place where they could not communicate with basically anyone because of the language barrier. I think Sophia Coppola did a really good job showing Bob and Charlotte’s struggle to communicate with everyone in Tokyo, and hence the reason they both stayed inside the hotel for the most part when they were alone. Neither of them appears to be completely happy with their marriages, and they both are lonely in Tokyo until they meet each other. They seem to just “click” immediately. There is no small talk between the two of them and there is not much hesitation at first, although they are complete strangers to each other. It is clear that they have feelings for each other and that they both care for each other, but it is not quite clear what these feelings are. The feelings are romantic, yet because of the age difference, there is a hint of a father-daughter relationship. Charlotte struggles because her husband ignores her, and she is young and has no idea what she wants to do in life. Bob struggles because he is not happy with his marriage and family life, and now he is essentially going to Tokyo to try and prolong his career and income for a little while longer. Therefore, they have a lot in common, but they also differ in that they are at different times in their life; his is coming to an end and hers is just beginning. In this movie, Tokyo is portrayed exactly like it is in real life; loud, busy, colorful, fluorescent, and open all night. The fact that the city never sleeps caters to Bob and Charlotte, who both have trouble sleeping – yet another thing they have in common. Instead of sitting in their room, frustrated that they cannot sleep, they are able to go out and meet each other and spend time with each other. This is how their relationship starts, and they become very close in a very short amount of time.

Retooling Hollywood

Retooling Hollywood

If I had to pick five words I believe most accurately describe the movie “Lost in Translation,” they would be: Tension, Confusion, Denial, Mocking and Promiscuity.
Tension: There is tension between almost every character in this film. Bob Harris certainly encounters a kind of tension with every person he meets, the hotel employees, the Japanese director; he even displays a tension when speaking with his wife. Even with Charlotte, who Harris obviously finds comforting, there is that sexual tension which is not acted upon until the last scene. The tension makes the audience a little uncomfortable, but that is what Coppola wanted. Charlotte and Harris are in a country they do not know, surrounded by a language they do not understand. It is important for the audience to feel that discomfort in order to empathize with the characters.
Confusion: Not understanding the language and culture results in a lot of confusion for Harris and Charlotte. Not to mention, they are both going through difficult times in their lives. There is that sense of confusion, of being totally lost, and just kind of passing the time hoping things will change.
Denial: Bob Harris and Charlotte are both in a slight denial of their relationships with their spouses, as well as their relationship with each other. They try to deny, and rise above their failing marriages. They deny the obvious lack of excitement in their lives, but as they learn more about each other, they realize they can provide excitement for each other.
Mocking: There seems to be a sense of mocking- through lack of communication, and lack of knowledge about the culture. It is not aggressive, intentionally harmful mocking; they just seem to laugh about what they do not understand. For example, the woman in the hospital speaking with Harris- they ended up laughing at the fact that they could not communicate. And the talk show was a slight mockery of Japanese television. It reinforced that idea that Harris and Charlotte are completely out of their comfort zone, in an absolutely foreign place.
Promiscuity was also an underlying theme throughout the movie. There was simply no intimate attraction between Charlotte and her husband. They seemed to have just lost all sexual desire for each other. And although we never see Harris with his wife, we can assume the same is true for them. There is some promiscuity, but again, it is not meant to insult or hurt, it is naïve.
The writer uses these emotions to convey the difficult, tedious time Charlotte and Harris are going through, and perhaps to suggest that a safe, benevolent new relationship can rekindle an older relationship.

Lost in Translation

Displacement from family and relationships is accentuated in this film by the foreign city, culture, language, and overall environment in Tokyo. Coppola humor to relate this through befuddled social interactions. Both the main characters, Charlotte and Bob are lonely and dislodged from their normal point of equilibrium. Bill Murray is obviously out of place in the scene in the elevator where he is a lot taller than the other people in the elevator. In addition to this, at the bar it is darkly lit, with Bob’s face lit up, again a scene of solitude. This theme continues through the movie, accentuating his sense of displacement. Scenes with many people use this to show the present loneliness in the respective character’s lives. Scarlett Johansen’s character is also obviously not happy in her environment, she exhibits insomnia, and her discontent can be initially seen when she does not respond when her husband says “love you, bye” as he rushes out the door. When she calls her friend back home, she acknowledges but does not understand her, furthering her loneliness. Coppola could have put this in because of the way women tend to have had experiences like this in their lives coming from girlfriends far away. Men would not stand for or show this weakness of lack of fulfillment.

Phone conversations bring understanding the character’s relationships with people who are not present. A lot can be learned from the tone and cadence of their conversations. Charlotte and her husband’s relationship and also Bob and his wife’s relationship is also shown in absence through their responses and reactions during conversations. Pauses and facial expressions show their true feelings apart from the words that they are actually saying.

Everything is going on around them but in they are their own world. Water is used as a time for contemplation and escape. Bob is shown in water in two especially significant scenes, one where he is swimming, and another when he is in the hot tub. In the first scene, he is surrounded by the crazy Japanese culture surrounding him. He rolls his eyes, then begins his relaxation with swimming. The other shows him relaxing in the tub, then his wife interrupts him on the phone and stresses him out. When they hang up, he sinks underwater into solitude to again get away. This theme is present in countless numbers of movies.

The clips on the back of Bob’s jacket at the photo shoot show the control Bob’s agent has over his life. Already it has been shown that his family life is suffering because of his working relationship. This is a disctinct picture with the clips going up his back like a straightjacket, showing the constraints on his life.

When Charlotte and Bob meet at the scene at the bar, they are spaced on each side of the screen; their intimacy begins when he reaches over to light her cigarette through the black space in between. Their relationship is shown to progress through seems paralleling this. Included is the scene during the party, after they sing karaoke and are sitting outside. Johansen’s character leans her head on his shoulder, this time she is the one reaching out. They have an intimate but not sexual relationship, they lay in bed, again with space between them, this time white, fully clothed but wholly personal because of the intellectual relationship.

Charlotte’s husband’s friend the actress is used as a foil to Charlotte who is intelligent and deep-thinking. The comment that she makes as being anorexic as a good thing and taking it as a compliment is taking a stab at women’s issues with weight and body image. In addition, the majority of her actions and things she says seem to be irrelevant ditzy. This accentuates her qualities that are oppositional to the superficial over-the-top actress. Coppola shows a streak of feminism in this scene.

Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation was my favorite of the films we have watched in this class so far. I think this is because I found the characters and their relationship very realistic, but the film also had a certain dreamy quality to it that pulls the viewer in. Of all the films we have watched so far, I think that Lost in Translation was the most even-handed in its portrayal of male and female characters. The other films' male characters were more stereotypical but less complex, but Bob was just as complex a character as Charlotte, perhaps even more so. He was also portrayed in a sympathetic and positive way. I think this shows what a skilled writer Coppola is, since as a female, she was still able to create a male character with a complex personality. Bob is a middle-aged actor who is just making an easy buck by shooting commercials in Japan. Although he still has a dry sense of humor, it is obvious that he feels lost and adrift in life, as if he doesn't know where he's going, and his relationship with his wife consists of superficial, disconnected conversations. Although in her twenties, the character Charlotte is experiencing many of the same feelings as him. I think this is the most interesting aspect of the story, because Bob and Charlotte connect because they are experiencing the same emotions. Their romance could have come across as weird or creepy because of the age difference, but because of their emotional connection, it is very easy to accept, something which I think is due to the female direction. Both of them are feeling alienated and lonely in the huge, strange city, and both of them are going through crises in their lives in which they don't know where they are headed. They are also both experiencing marriages where they feel disconnected from the spouse. I think the love story worked because Coppola made them awkward, but also friendly, with each other in a very realistic way, and there wasn't an emphasis on the physical as much as the emotional.

I haven't seen The Virgin Suicides, but I did see Coppola's other film Marie Antoinette. There were many similarities between the two films, especially in terms of the use of colors and music. Marie Antoinette lacked the substance of Lost in Translation, but they both consisted of many muted colors with brighter colors thrown in to punctuate more vibrant scenes. In Lost in Translation, the bright colors were used to show how foreign the brightness of Tokyo was, and the more muted colors suggested a dreamy, lonely world of contemplation, to illustrate what Bob and Charlotte were experiencing. I also found the party scenes in both films very similar. They were both filmed in a very natural way, as if the viewer was there, with the camera constantly moving over different images of people together, and the music blaring in the background. I thought that the music in both films was excellent, and that it especially enriched Lost in Translation. It enhanced the dreamy quality that I mentioned. I especially thought that ending song, "Just Like Honey" by the Jesus and Mary Chain, was used in an excellent manner because it fit the images perfectly, and its bitersweet nature fit the tone of the film and any possibilities that the viewer could imagine for the ending. Finally, both films frequently showed their main characters gazing into space. This served to illustrate Charlotte's and Marie's lonelineness and alienation, although I think it fit the main theme in Lost in Translation more well. I think that this too is a sign of a female director, since women focus more on facial expressions, and females are more willing to use a slower pace rather than making a quick-paced movie. I think Coppola was very skilled at using music and images to create a world within the film and to illustrate the emotions that the main characters were going through, and how they connected.

Lost in Translation

“Lost in Translation” was my favorite movie that we have watched so far this week. I thought the film was really intriguing and filmed amazingly. I was really impressed with how well the lighting and color schemes were done. I found it be extremely detailed and symbolic. The drab color scheme allowed any vibrant color to really stick out. I also found that the color was a symbolic way of describing the characters and moods. When Charlotte and Bob go out for a night on the town, the use of lighting is vivid. Coppola does a great job to make the surroundings luminous and bright. The one aspect of the film that I was a bit disappointed with was the ending. It felt unfinished and although I think it was intended to have the viewer imagine what they felt should happen, I would have preferred more detail about what happened when they got back to the United States. I was unsure about how I felt after the movie ended. I couldn’t decide if it ended happily ever after or if there was more to it than that. This seems to be a technique of Coppola’s because I had the same feeling at the end of “Virgin Suicides.” Although I found this movie to be really different from Coppola’s first film, “Virgin Suicides,” the lighting and color detail were also very intricate in that film. “Virgin Suicides” was depressing in a much more upfront way. I found “Lost in Translation” to be depressing at times but it was more realistic. “Virgin Suicides” had more of a disturbing approach. I think that “Lost in Translation” represents many stages of life. It represents the times in life where one loses perspective of what he or she wants. It also incorporates the times of uncertainty and passion. I though these themes were very well chosen because at some point, everyone is able to relate.


Lost in Translation

It is hard to believe that “Lost in Translation” is Sofia Coppola’s second film. One thing I realized when watching this movie, more then the others we have seen this week, is the use of color. In “Lost in Translation” I felt that Coppola used the color of her characters clothing to tell more about their personalities and the culture they were living in. Also, I think that the way female characters were portrayed in this movie made it obvious that there was a female producer.

When watching the movie it was hard not to notice all the black clothing the characters wore. It seemed that everyone had on black or drab colored suits. However, whenever there was a break in color it was always with a female character. One example is the singer from the bar in the hotel. The first time you see her, you can’t take your eyes off of her. She has on a bright red dress with red lipstick. The other times you see her though she is in all black dress, which blends her in to everyone around her. Another example of color is through the main character Charlotte. Just like the singer from the bar, Charlotte is constantly wearing all black colors, but in a number of scenes she all of a sudden is wearing bright white. I am not sure what Coppola is trying to convey here. Is she trying to show how pure Charlotte’s character is? If so, what is the meaning of the red that the singer wears in her opening scene?

In “Lost in Translation” Coppola also seems to flaunt the female body. It appears that every time Charlotte is in her hotel room she is just in her underwear and a shirt, exposing her legs completely. In addition, the opening scene of her butt is an interesting way to start the movie and there must be some meaning behind that. This power of the female could be tied back to the colors they wear.

When the movie ended I felt that I did not fully understand it. It kind of reminded me of the ending in “Sleepless in Seattle.” Do Charlotte and Bob stay friends once they both return to the United States? Is that what he was whispering to her when he jumped out of the car and chased her down the sidewalk? I think that this movie requires you to think and make a connection with the characters and their feelings in order for you to understand it.

Lost in Translation

“Lost in Translation” to me seemed full of meaning in the scenery and dialogue. Indeed, as we mentioned in class, there was once again a pool scene. However, the pool was not the only source of water in the film. Bill Murray was also to be found in a tub in one scene, and the natural of climate of Japan is rainy on its own. I also noticed the stark grays and blah colors of the sky and buildings in comparison to the bright Las Vegas colors of the Tokyo life. There were so many flashy colors and moving advertisements that one could easily get lost in its showiness. Yet those colors did not disguise or better the life situations of the two main characters; Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray.

Their lives seemed so sad and lonely, though they were in one of the biggest cities in the world. They were all alone, and I think the gray was used to symbolize their solitary state. However, once they meet each other, the colors seem to get brighter as their lives improve in each others company.

I guess I didn’t really understand the ending, was it happy? Was it sad? What did Murray say to Johansson in the end of the movie? Whatever was whispered in the last scene must have made both of their moods better because they seemed to part in contentment. Yet being a member of the audience, I guess I would have liked to know what was said, if only for my own contentment. Nonetheless, after their parting, the camera pans out to show once again the drab and gray color scheme of the industrial buildings. Ironically, the music played during this final scene is bright and fast, quite the opposite of the sad and dreary offices.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie, though I may not have understood its point.

Lost in Translation sites

Here is the main web page:

A parody of Lost in Translation

Laurel Canyon (2002)

Laurel Canyon (2002) is a wonderful example of female direction. It is a beautiful portrayal of the struggles that exist within human relationships. Lisa Cholodenko paints a picture of love in the 21st century that is incredibly accurate. One cannot help being moved by her attention to the everyday details that are so crucial to modern life.
Small things like fitness, clothing, and movement that occur naturally in everyday life are used by Cholodenko to help explain and develop her characters. For instance, throughout the movie she uses an AC DC t-shirt as a symbol of freedom. The shirt originally belongs to rock star Ian McKnight (Alessandro Nivola), a catalyst character who provokes change throughout the film. However, as the film progresses the audience sees the shirt move from character to character as they evolve to become more like Ian. The shirt goes from Ian to Jane (Frances McDormand). She wears it when she and Alex (Kate Beckinsale), her son Sam’s (Chritian Bale) fiancé, are beginning to bond in her music studio; a real point of development for her character. Similarly we see Alex wearing the shirt when she goes jogging after she begins hanging out with Jane and Ian. Signifying the change that is occurring within the relationships on screen this simple AC DC t-shirt becomes a excellent symbol for rebellion and growth for all three characters. Like two girls wearing their boyfriend’s t-shirt both Alex and Jane find comfort in Ian. He is an affectionate charming character who easily draws Alex from her sickly relationship with Sam who is embarrassed of his mother Jane and her lifestyle.
Overprotective and consumed by his embarrassment of Jane Sam ignores Alex’s needs and becomes distant, a situation that is augmented by his crush on fellow doctor Sara (Natascha McElhone). Only when both Alex and Sam are able to admit to the problems in their seemingly perfect relationship are they able to salvage what remains of their relationship. Laurel Canyon allows Cholodenko to present her stirring commentary on the fallacy that exists in the modern idea of a perfect relationship.