Wednesday, January 10, 2007

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.


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