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Lost in Translation


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For what it's worth, yes.

Uh-huh... Is someone with a suspiciously low post count and something related to Japan or robots in their signature going to back that up in a minute?

"I've known him all my life! He's taught in seven Polytechnics throughout the country!"

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Uh-huh... Is someone with a suspiciously low post count and something related to Japan or robots in their signature going to back that up in a minute?

"I've known him all my life! He's taught in seven Polytechnics throughout the country!"

A qualification in psychology can be a degree (or a GCSE)...

It doesn't necessarily mean you're in a position to practice.

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Nippon-cool is very very out at the moment.

Hiphop and Americana are in.

OT, but it was quite disheartening for me to witness how the whole hiphop culture thing had invaded Tokyo too. I was looking forward to a break from the "yo, nigga what!" and stupidly baggy clothes rubbish when I visited the place earlier this year. Alas, 'twas not to be.

Oh well. Carry on...

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OT, but it was quite disheartening for me to witness how the whole hiphop culture thing had invaded Tokyo too. I was looking forward to a break from the "yo, nigga what!" and stupidly baggy clothes rubbish when I visited the place earlier this year. Alas, 'twas not to be.

Oh well. Carry on...

The Japanese love American exports

;)

A bit OT, but i did find watching Lost In Translation very relaxing it has to be said, it's a pretty chilled film. But overall, altough i shouldn't be comparing cos they ain't that simliar (but both have a "fly on the wall" feel), i saw 21 Grams shortly after seeing Lost in Translation and 21 Grams pissed all over it.

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OT, but it was quite disheartening for me to witness how the whole hiphop culture thing had invaded Tokyo too. I was looking forward to a break from the "yo, nigga what!" and stupidly baggy clothes rubbish when I visited the place earlier this year. Alas, 'twas not to be.

Oh well. Carry on...

Yeah, I've not been there but I've seen stuff showing loads of gangsta-wannabes in Japan and South Korea. Its kind of strange seeing a whole culture of music and fashion simply copied as part of a fad in another country like that. Quite amusing but it just looks naff with all the rich Japanese kids and their blinging car cruises etc. as opposed to the real ghetto in LA or somewhere.

I know Japan isn't the be-all and end-all of 'cool' anymore but I'd have thought they would be more up to date with this stuff, rather than just repeat the 1990s.

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I actually kept falling asleep throught this in the cinema. Can't decide if it's because the film was either boring or just relaxing to watch. I guess it was a bit of both.

I had that problem too, and I certainly didn't find the film relaxing.

The main problem was, I had no way at all to empathise with these people. They weren't especially likable characters and Coppola's attempts to help us identify with their ennui (such as Charlotte's conversations with the photographer's boorish friends) felt forced / rushed. I can dig that people who are seemingly quite well-off can be unhappy, but it's not enough to just be told that they are; I need to understand why in order to care. In that sense, LiT felt like a novel that had been poorly condensed to fit into a film. And the ending was atrocious, despite the Jesus and Mary Chain; Bill Murray not finding Johannson in the crowds would have been infinitely better than the sub-John Hughes empty catharsis Coppola delivered. Meh.

Well, great perfomances and some lush shooting, but it felt like flesh without bones to me. And I love films where nothing happens, as a rule.

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Fuck a duck.

It's a subtle film. Too many people are used to Hollywood holding their hand and when presented with something like Lost in Translation moan because nothing exciting seems to be happening. To say the plot is light, that it is self-indulgent and lacking substance is completely missing the point (Total Film I am looking at you, you imbeciles). I guess the film isn't for you, but it is the film of the year as far as I am concerned.

Agreed.

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I had that problem too, and I certainly didn't find the film relaxing.

The main problem was, I had no way at all to empathise with these people. They weren't especially likable characters and Coppola's attempts to help us identify with their ennui (such as Charlotte's conversations with the photographer's boorish friends) felt forced / rushed. I can dig that people who are seemingly quite well-off can be unhappy, but it's not enough to just be told that they are; I need to understand why in order to care. In that sense, LiT felt like a novel that had been poorly condensed to fit into a film. And the ending was atrocious, despite the Jesus and Mary Chain; Bill Murray not finding Johannson in the crowds would have been infinitely better than the sub-John Hughes empty catharsis Coppola delivered. Meh.

Well, great perfomances and some lush shooting, but it felt like flesh without bones to me. And I love films where nothing happens, as a rule.

Yipper, I didn't like Scarlet's character. She's bored? Well BOO FUCKIN' HOO. And that's as far as my empathising went.

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I enjoyed the film, although not at first. I was immediately confused by the structure of the movie, as they usually have a point, or an over-riding message that are made pretty obvious. It wasn't untill I thought about what the movie was instead of what it wasn't that I really began to apreciate it. For me, it was a very real piece of cinema - the characters were like real people, the way they spoke was just like people in the real world speak and the situation they were in is something that I suppose many, many people can relate to.

The characters seemed to me to be going through a sort of transition in their lives; they had reached a point where their circumstances forced their hand, and they realised that they weren't happy with the way their lives were heading. I think Cacophanous is right, they are insecure people, but I refute that this is somehow a bad thing. Being insecure, selfish, depressed... these are all negative emotions and aspects, but they are REAL! No one has ever lived a life like they do in the movies where every decision is black and white, true or false, and the outcome of the decision is crystal clear. You would be a liar if you said you had lived your life like this, and this movie is one that stands up and says "People don't live their lives like that, real people are not like that!".

I loved the movie because it makes me think about myself and my life - Cacophanous says the movie promotes insecurity, but the movie promotes nothing! The movie is a portrayal of emotion! It doesn't say "It is good to live your life in insecurity", it says "People live their lives in insecurity". Coppola is not telling us what is the right way of living our life, she is presenting real life and emotion, because this is what life is like. It is up to you what you take away from the movie, because it is not giving you anything. If there is a message in there, it is for you to find and apply to your own life.

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Yipper, I didn't like Scarlet's character. She's bored? Well BOO FUCKIN' HOO. And that's as far as my empathising went.

That's about it. And Bill Murray's character has travelled somewhere he doesn't want to go, to do something he doesn't want to do, for money he almost certainly doesn't need, and he's sad about it? Cry me a river.

I'm sure they're problem Sofia Coppola could relate to, but they didn't mean a hell of a lot to me. They were hardly Ken Loach characters, were they?

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What's the problem? She's in a fantastic country but doesn't have anyone (re: her fuckwitted husband) to share it with.

That's the other thing- her husbands a good guy, going out there doing his job, doing it well. But because he doesn't drop everything because she's so very bored he's suddenly a giant arsehole?

It's not that she's poor, it's that we're meant to feel empathy for someone who's only gripe is that they're bored. And not that they're bored with the same things everyday, but that they're on holiday, in a strange fantastic new place, with not a care in the world. Gee whizz.

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Being insecure, selfish, depressed... these are all negative emotions and aspects, but they are REAL!

Agree with you one hundred percent there. If the characters appear somewhat superficial its because thats what people are like IMO.

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Cacophanous' main critiscism appears to be that the movie venerates characters that are not perfect. To me it doesn't glorify any character, it merely presents them as real. No one is the hero in this movie.

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I find it amazing people are blinded to the films universal (kind of anti-Hollywood) messages of isolation, temptation, quiet dejection, youth and maturity, the search for the self etc. all because the characters happen to be wealthy.

It's not because they're wealthy, it's because I have no reason to like them or care about them or associate with why they feel the way they do. I just couldn't give a toss. Compare that to Takeshi Kitano's A Scene at the Sea, which deals with the relationship between two deaf-mute teenagers (or post-teens) in Japan. They have far less in common with me than the LiT characters (and they spend even more time staring silently at each other), but Kitano and his actors manage to make me care about them despite this, because the characters seem like rounded, real people, not mere ciphers floundering in ennui for the sake of it.

I'm not blind to the 'universal messages', but I still need to have some sympathy for the characters; the pair in LiT just need to get a grip, in my opinion. The sad sacks.

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Cacophanous' main critiscism appears to be that the movie venerates characters that are not perfect. To me it doesn't glorify any character, it merely presents them as real. No one is the hero in this movie.

No, Bill Murray is the hero in every movie. Even ones he's not in.

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Cacophanous' main critiscism appears to be that the movie venerates characters that are not perfect. To me it doesn't glorify any character, it merely presents them as real. No one is the hero in this movie.

Hmm. Well, I don't think it was Coppola's intention for me to come away from the film thinking that her characters were superficial and shallow. Clearly the film does venerate them (though that is a fairly strong term) in the final scene; we're supposed to feel for them with their dash through the crowds and the music and the tears. We're certainly not meant to dislike them at that point. If we were simply meant to accept them as they were, warts and all, why have the heart-pounding soundtrack? It's a spectacularly ham-fisted ending, like a sub-par episode of ER, but worse.

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Certainly, there was an intention that we should sympathise with the characters, and perhaps in that sense the movie perhaps does itself a dis-service given that it is over-ridingly about real human emotion. I certanly did feel sympathetic towards the characters regardless of the final (somewhat confusing) scene. Who can't relate to loneliness, depression, anxiety, confusion, temptation, etc, etc?

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Who can't relate to loneliness, depression, anxiety, confusion, temptation, etc, etc?

I can relate to all those, of course. I could certainly relate to depression by the end of the film. But context is vital, and failed me - and I'm only speaking for myself here - in LiT. I think that all the emotions you mention have been far, far more effectively explored in five-minute scenes in Buffy, for example. Of course, those five minute scenes wouldn't mean anything without the context provided by many hours of character development that LiT simply couldn't have provided. But it certainly had plenty of time to build enough character development for me to care, because other films have managed it. Consider One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest purely as a film; I certainly saw the film before reading the book, and by the end I cared about all the characters, whether they were likable, annoying or pathologically unpleasant. LiT just had to make me care about two characters, and it didn't even manage one.

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Rowan Morrison:

That's about it. And Bill Murray's character has travelled somewhere he doesn't want to go, to do something he doesn't want to do, for money he almost certainly doesn't need, and he's sad about it? Cry me a river.

I'm sure they're problem Sofia Coppola could relate to, but they didn't mean a hell of a lot to me. They were hardly Ken Loach characters, were they?

Maybe they didn't but films don't always have to 'mean' alot to the viewer. Why can't characters in films just be seen as they are in real life - just as the way they are instead of always trying to gain our sympathy or go opposite and make us hate them?

It's like you expect people in films to impress you somehow.

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Maybe they didn't but films don't always have to 'mean' alot to the viewer.

I agree, but clearly from the last scenes - and several others throughout the film - these characters were meant to mean something to me. I was expected to empathise, or at least sympathise, with them. Hence the style of music used and the desperate search through the crowds and the long stares and the tears. You can't seriously argue that LiT wasn't meant to 'mean' something to me. It dissolved into pure schmaltz.

I'm all for ambiguity in films, but I can't believe that was in any way Coppola's intention here.

It's like you expect people in films to impress you somehow.

Close, I expect films to impress me somehow.

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bleh.

can't really argue with it anymore.

I just think that characters with flaws are more interesting than ones with not, and if you don't like the character so what? doesn't mean the film is good or bad.

I thought it was great :)

I just find bland hollywood heroes and villians f*cking boring.

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bleh.

can't really argue with it anymore.

I just think that characters with flaws are more interesting than ones with not, and if you don't like the character so what? doesn't mean the film is good or bad.

I thought it was great ;)

I just find bland hollywood heroes and villians f*cking boring.

Well, I wouldn't say we had an argument going on; you had reasons you liked it and I had reasons I didn't. I would certainly agree that I'd rather see a hundred more LiTs than one more shitty superhero film.

But as I can't resist, I'll add that flawed characters are vital for any serious film, and it's perfectly viable for a good or great film not to have any 'likable' characters at all. But do you not thing the finale of LiT - and I know I keep coming back to the finale, but, you know, it was the finale after all - do you not think it was written and filmed explicitly to elicit emotion from the audience, in empathy with the main characters? It was hardly an ambiguous ending, after all.

Yes, we can still feel for characters with flaws - see Randall McMurhpy, C.F. Kane, Jake LaMotta - but I didn't sense that depth to LiT myself. Consider how well you know LaMotta by the end of Raging Bull. You know his flaws and his evils and his virtues, and you care. I didn't feel anything like that about the LiT characters; it's not that I didn't like them, I just didn't have any particular view on them at all, other than finding them a little annoying (possibly as a result of not having enough insight into their characters).

I'm not trying to argue the toss here, I'm interested because everyone has different interpretations, and they all have merit. Our combined subjective views are the closest thing we have to an objective 'truth'; the more the merrier.

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I thought it was based in japan because that's where 'it' happened for coppola IRL.

I mean you don't even fucking SEE most of the country - the focus isn't on Japan whatsoever.

it's not as if they did an England with pissing rain and bowler hats type cliche on the country, is it?

Well, there is a certain amount of cheap 'comedy' at the expense of the Japanese characters trying to speak English - the old 'r' and 'l' mix-ups. It was like watching The Two Ronnies at times. But then there were some very nice shots contrasting the metropolis of Tokyo with the tanabata tree scenes... an odd mix.

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The film doesn't promote insecurity, it just presents it as an innately natural facet of personality (which it isn't really, insecurity isn't produced from internal sources of one's personality but as a reaction to external "social" forces though some people are more suscetible than others). Now, this isn't an overt proclamation on the part of Coppola but it is there nonetheless (this is obviously exacerbated by the fact that millions of people have probably watched the film).

Whether displaying individual insecurity makes a narrative more interesting, is open for debate. Though it is fucking shitty to garner entertainment from somebody else's misfortune, but hey we're British so let's batter those poor fuckers because we are so bored...

If the Mayor of Casterbridge had been set anywhere else, no doubt Thomas Hardy would have found suitable allegories. Moreover, the foundation of the narrative is robust enough to survive such a transition. Lost in Translation would have merely been a derivative "me too" piece of cinematic irrelevance if it had not been set in Japan.

I also proclaim this thread...

pwn3d.gif

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