Wednesday, January 10, 2007

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.


Blogger Isis said...

I dont think I would classify Bob and Charlotte's relationship as 'safe' per se. I felt it was an unconventional relationship that arose from the mutual disillusionment and loneliness that both characters were suffering. Although Charlotte and Bob were at different stages of life, for a moment in time they were able to form a meaningful relationship and re-awaken eachothers perspectives on life.

11:58 PM  

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