Cinéaste 002: Lost In Translation

I just feel so alone, even when I'm surrounded by other people.
Title: Lost In Translation 
Director: Sofia Coppola 
Cast: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris 
Synopsis: Two lost souls visiting Tokyo - the young, neglected wife of a photographer and a washed-up movie star shooting a TV commercial - find an odd solace and pensive freedom to be real in each other's company, away from their lives in America.

There are few films that have had the effect that Lost In Translation has had on me. There's just something about the way that Sofia Coppola composed the film that had me absolutely entranced ever since my first viewing of it just over 10 years ago (wow - I feel old typing that out!). Although I've given up trying to definitively say what my favourite film is, this is the one that always comes to mind first if I'm ever asked.

While the majority of the film is focused on the two main characters (Charlotte and Bob), it's almost as if the country of Japan is the omnipresent third character - from the neon streets of Shinjuku, Tokyo to the quiet temples in Kyoto. The film is such a gorgeous (and accurate) depiction of a foreigners experience in Japan that I can see myself in Charlotte every time I watch the film. Indeed, I feel like many young women could (and do) identify with her particular brand of twentysomething melancholy: "I just don't know what I'm supposed to be."

The film's soundtrack absolutely plays a part in creating such a cohesive picture, which is now to be expected in all Sofia Coppola films. Of course, Phoenix make an appearance in the aptly-titled 'Too Young', while The Jesus and Mary Chain's beautiful 'Just Like Honey' is placed perfectly in the film's final moments. There's also Air's stunning 'Alone In Kyoto' which has to be one of the most gorgeous pieces of music I've ever heard; Death In Vegas' 'Girls' as we see the bright lights of Shinjuku through a taxi window; and Peaches iconic 'Fuck The Pain Away.' The music fits so well with the film that it's hard to believe they weren't composed specifically to appear in it.

Having said that, this is not a film for everyone. I've heard it called boring by many of my friends, as though a film needs at least one explosion to make it worthwhile. I once read a review saying that introverts will love this film, and extraverts will hate it. I tend to agree with this general assessment, as the film (at its core) is about two people who connect for a brief time in a strange city, searching for meaning in their lives.

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