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Lost In Translation


Luke
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I've been thinking about it and this film could have been set anywhere really, even in New York or Texas, and the characters would have acted in the same way.

No - it had to be set in a country which was foreign enough to be utterly disconcerting.

Japan. Hong Kong. The Czech Republic, maybe?

But not somewhere utterly foreign in look as well as feel. Which is why Tokyo works - because it looks like a big western city.

And it's not.

And certainly not America.

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No - it had to be set in a country which was foreign enough to be utterly disconcerting.

Japan. Hong Kong. The Czech Republic, maybe?

But not somewhere utterly foreign in look as well as feel. Which is why Tokyo works - because it looks like a big western city.

And it's not.

And certainly not America.

The main characters wouldn't necessarily have to be American.

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The film is all about Sophia's experiences in Japan: it's written from the viewpoint of an American visitor to what is essentially a very foreign land.

So of course it'll pick up on the high/language issues - as they are exactly that to those people.

Murray's character specifically doesn't want to be there - he could be anywhere, but they've decided to cart him to Japan to film the commercials. He is their guest there, and so he expects to be treated well - ie for the shower to work, for the people to speak so he understands them, for the translator to translate all that's being said not 2/3 words..

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Fine, ignore me you racists! :blink:

What's that movie about that bloke from Magnum PI getting a transfer to the Japanese Baseball League? Mr Baseball? That covers some of the same issues.. it covers all the same issues... hang on....

Edited by Guru Meditation Error
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Exactly. The joke comes from the way they speak.

That's what will be found offensive by some.

Black people tend to have bigger lips and larger noses than white people. If someone were to make a joke about that many people would be offended by it.

I didn't realise causing offence was the same as racism. Probably because it isn't.

Really, really pisses me off when people who allegedly want to protect people from racial slurs end up perpetuating the problem.

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I didn't realise causing offence was the same as racism. Probably because it isn't.

Really, really pisses me off when people who allegedly want to protect people from racial slurs end up perpetuating the problem.

*sigh*

I don't recall saying the film is racist. If anything I said racism may be too strong a word.

My whole point all this time is about the film causing offence. Why? Becasuse it mocks the way a race speaks.

So am I the only one who can see how some people may be offended by the film? I find that rather hard to believe. Even though you may not agree, surely you can see that?

But anyway, fuck it. I've gone beyond caring now. I have neither the time or energy to keep arguing over this.

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*sigh*

I don't recall saying the film is racist. If anything I said racism may be too strong a word.

My whole point all this time is about the film causing offence. Why? Becasuse it mocks the way a race speaks.

So am I the only one who can see how some people may be offended by the film? I find that rather hard to believe. Even though you may not agree, surely you can see that?

Yeah, the same people who decreed Christmas must be called "Winterval" in the Midlands so people wouldn't get "offended". Personally, they're beneath my contempt.

I don't get offended by groundskeeper Willy's accent in The Simpsons, or his mannerisms. I have Japanese friends who apologise for their "Engrish". The best humour often causes offence. That's why it's funny. not that that really applies to this movie because I don't consider it much of a comedy, but it's anything but offensive. And the fact that you aren't actually offended by it but wish to point out that some people might be is possibly the most irritating aspect.

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Yeah, the same people who decreed Christmas must be called "Winterval" in the Midlands so people wouldn't get "offended". Personally, they're beneath my contempt.

I've lived in the midlands all my life and had never heard of that one until I came to this forum.

Seems it's true though (though just in a Birmingham City Council events program it seems). Madness indeed.

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how many people would complain if a film had similar comedy involving german or french people, for example?

would you honestly be offended if you saw a film that was making jokes about how english (or wherever you're from) people speak? well i wouldn't <_<

and how is it relevant if murray's character was not interested in japanese culture, ignorant of it? a lot of people in foreign countries are like that. he's not there for a holiday, he's not there to learn about japanese culture, he's there for work, and he'd rather not be. so what? he's a film character, not a suggested role model for how we should all live our lives.

What's that movie about that bloke from Magnum PI getting a transfer to the Japanese Baseball League? Mr Baseball? That covers some of the same issues.. it covers all the same issues... hang on....

i've seen that! can't remember what its called though...

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Now argue your case for the use of Engrish throughout the film. You must be able to understand why some people would find this offensive.

About two years ago an undergraduate student from Japan worked for me for the summer. He hadn't lived outside Japan before, so his English was a little poor and his pronunciation was a bit off. Occassionally I would misunderstand what he said, which often lead to some funny situations that we both had a laugh about.

Now I see the error of my ways and I was obviously being a horrible racist.

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would you honestly be offended if you saw a film that was making jokes about how english (or wherever you're from) people speak? well i wouldn't

Fraiser - Is It Racist?

Have you seen how English characters are portrayed in this "comedy"?

Buffy - Is it Racist

The way Spike has to say something like "bloody hell Buffy" almost every episode. Blatant stereotyping and racism.

Austin Powers - Is It Racist?

Well, yes, obviously it is. Probably not such a great example.

Independence Day - Is it Racist?

Again, possibly not such a great example. "Oh jolly good show, those spiffing Yanks have saved us again, what. Well, tally-ho!".

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how many people would complain if a film had similar comedy involving german or french people, for example?

Hey - those Italians.

Mafia hitmen, every last one of them.

(Actually, that's probably not the best example...)

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Did I think the film was racist? Nope (but then I'm a white englishman so perhaps my views don't count).

Does anyone have any links showing how the Japanese have been horribly offended by the film (from Japanese writers as opposed to PC westerners)? If this is the case then I'm happy to learn from it.

Maybe it is racist, and as a non-Japanese native I'm missing the point horribly, but I thought that in many respects it was pretty positive about the Japanese and their culture (witness Scarlet Johanssen's character visiting the temples etc).

No-one's suggested that it's racist against Americans for being too isolationist to offer to learn a few words of the lanaguage of the country they're visiting (or indeed for being too stupid to work a cross-trainer machine in the gym). As others have pointed out, there is often humour to be found in cultural diferences. Finding these differences amusing does not by default mean that someone is intolerant, racist, or looks upon others negatively.

I would suggest that anyone who found the film racist should avoid National Lampoon's European Vacation which is horribly racist towards the British and most of mainland Europe. <note: sarcasm>

Fishy

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Had to laugh at that Guardian article, it was utter shit. Something which amused me:

And haven't we had enough about the Japanese confusing rs and ls when they speak English?

Does the person writing it - purportedly someone who's half Japanese - even know that they inherently pronounce it like that because of huge differences in phonetics between English/Japanese? He doesn't seem to. And Bill Murray standing in a lift full of smaller Japanese people. So what? They're shorter as a race of people, it's hardly a false portrayal.

The caricatures play to longstanding American prejudice about Japan. The US forced Japan to open up for trade with other countries in 1864, ending 400 years of isolationist policy by the Tokugawa regime. The US interned thousands of Japanese during the second world war and dropped two nuclear bombs on the country. After Japan's defeat, America became more influential in East Asia; Japan was occupied, not only by the US forces but, more important, politically and culturally.

Ooh, bringing up 1864 with a movie that happened over 125 years later. Good going, that's *really* convincing. Hey, did you know the Japanese interned millions of allied POWs in WW2, and forced them to work on railroads, putting them into concentration camps, with huge numbers of them dying? What about invading China about 5 billion times and being incredibly racist against them, in that they thought they were an inferior species and didn't deserve their land?

Oh, and that Battle Royale II really stereotypes Americans, fucking racist film!

What a fucking moron, can't believe The Guardian even printed this.

In case he didn't notice, it also massively stereotypes Americans too - her boyfriend, that annoying PR type woman, the way the whisky is being advertised by the character Bill Murray is portraying, the fact that he's over there for *$2m*, the singer in the club, his wife Fedexing him carpet samples that he doesn't give a shit about...

And on the flip side, it shows the Japanese to be incredibly efficient, to be extremely polite, something remarked upon several times, to show a thriving metropolis without crime or vagabonds, to show a culturally diverse people who are in touch with their spiritual and historical/traditional side as much as they are with their arcade games.

The movie picks faults in everything, and that's what's so good about it. It's not racist, and it's stereotypical to portray a story, and to make the audience know he's feeling disconnected while raising a few laughs. Tonnes of humour is based on stereotypes, but that doesn't make it racist, especially when half of the stereotyping is actually real.

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I agree with Paradigm.

I own the film and think its great - the characters relationships, cinematography, everything. To say the Japanese characters are belittled etc. is clearly ignoring the fact that the Americans are portrayed as the most stupid people in the film (the actress mainly).

From what I've read Sofia Copolla clearly loves Tokyo and Japanese culture, and merely wants to show the differences in culture she and the film's main characters experience.

Any film with French, German, Italian characters clearly stereotyped and noone gives a shit. Then this film comes along and its 'clearly racist' for showing differences realistically and without ficticious stereotyping. :ph34r:

That guardian article is w*nk.

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Had to laugh at that Guardian article, it was utter shit. Something which amused me:

Does the person writing it - purportedly someone who's half Japanese - even know that they inherently pronounce it like that because of huge differences in phonetics between English/Japanese? He doesn't seem to. And Bill Murray standing in a lift full of smaller Japanese people. So what? They're shorter as a race of people, it's hardly a false portrayal.

Ooh, bringing up 1864 with a movie that happened over 125 years later. Good going, that's *really* convincing. Hey, did you know the Japanese interned millions of allied POWs in WW2, and forced them to work on railroads, putting them into concentration camps, with huge numbers of them dying? What about invading China about 5 billion times and being incredibly racist against them, in that they thought they were an inferior species and didn't deserve their land?

Oh, and that Battle Royale II really stereotypes Americans, fucking racist film!

What a fucking moron, can't believe The Guardian even printed this.

In case he didn't notice, it also massively stereotypes Americans too - her boyfriend, that annoying PR type woman, the way the whisky is being advertised by the character Bill Murray is portraying, the fact that he's over there for *$2m*, the singer in the club, his wife Fedexing him carpet samples that he doesn't give a shit about...

And on the flip side, it shows the Japanese to be incredibly efficient, to be extremely polite, something remarked upon several times, to show a thriving metropolis without crime or vagabonds, to show a culturally diverse people who are in touch with their spiritual and historical/traditional side as much as they are with their arcade games.

The movie picks faults in everything, and that's what's so good about it. It's not racist, and it's stereotypical to portray a story, and to make the audience know he's feeling disconnected while raising a few laughs. Tonnes of humour is based on stereotypes, but that doesn't make it racist, especially when half of the stereotyping is actually real.

I agree with you 100%. Thank you for saving me some time :ph34r:

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