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Lost in Translation


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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...

http://cacophanus.net/pwn3d.gif

in english?

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Lost in Translation would have merely been a derivative "me too" piece of cinematic irrelevance if it had not been set in Japan.

I doubt that most people cared that it was set in Japan. I know that I didn't.

I know that it's your 'adopted homeland', but you're far too precious about it sometimes...

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As you're so keen on using Hardy as a parallel let me just state that I found Return of the Native totally detestable, I mean how am I supposed to empathise with a smelly gambler, an immature angsty little bitch and a duddering half-blind loser?

And don't get me started on the cliched portrayal of the rustics... furze-cutters indeed...

Edit: And it's bloody slow.

But hey - they're all secure with themselves, and that's all you should look for in a movie.

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Thing with Lost in Translation is that it displays individual insecurity as a normal state that does not require resolution (which it does, not only for yourself but the poor sods around you). Whilst many films display human insecurity they do at least address it, they resolve it. Coppola probably isn't even aware of it. That's really bad.

As for Japan, they could have used Poland and I would have still been as pissed. They used the cultural setting to make the film appear special. It's an insidious ruse and one that should be sniped the fuck down.

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As for Japan, they could have used Poland and I would have still been as pissed. They used the cultural setting to make the film appear special. It's an insidious ruse and one that should be sniped the fuck down.

In your opinion...

and I certainly don't htink it was 'special'. the reasoning, and that behind the apparent stereotypes is taht they are like fish out of water. they don't belong there, and in that respect, it's alien to them. I'm not defending the fact that it was crass at certain points, but it's pretty damn hard to express the lonliness if the protagonists are at ease with their surroundings.

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Cacky makes one very good point.

If it wasn't set in Japan, it would be a nothing film about nothing. There's nothing there. It's a whole load of absolutely nothing.

It's not real people and real feelings. It's not a slice of life. It's not a clever depiction of loneliness. See Ghost World if you want all of this.

It's just a whole load of nothing wrapped up in an interesting locale. Set a movie in Japan and cast Bill Murray in it and you can't fail- quirky location, and a Hollywood actor who excels in quirky roles.

It's as Hollywood as you like, folks. It's a trick.

R.

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Cacky doesn't make a good point, because he's simply wrong. The whole bloody plot wouldn't work in <Poland>/<Miami>/<Sydney*>.

He's also blatantly not spent time considering The Mayor Of Casterbridge - Henchard is one of the least sympathetic characters in the history of literature :)

* Lost In Translation: Sydney.

Girl: I'm bored.

Bloke wanders up: Let's go surfing.

Girl: Ok :lol:

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Thing with Lost in Translation is that it displays individual insecurity as a normal state that does not require resolution (which it does, not only for yourself but the poor sods around you)

Not true - Bill Murray's character at one point cheats on his wife and really hurts the feelings of Johanssens character when he sleeps with the bar singer - the sense that he KNEW he had done the wrong thing, and that Johanssens character was upset was palpable and made their future encounters uncomfortable. Where is the movie suggesting that insecurities don't have to be worked out there?

It's not real people and real feelings. It's not a slice of life. It's not a clever depiction of loneliness. See Ghost World if you want all of this.

I'm sure Ghost World is a great movie, but LiT is all those things. I can fully understand if the movie didn't appeal to you because you didn't see or appreciate any of that stuff, but that's what the movie indisputably in my eyes is all about.

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RE: the Guardian article - the movie clearly does use Japan as a sort of comedy piece throughout (see - whacky TV show, whacky hospital patron, whacky prostitite/stripper/whatever the hell that woman was!), but to say the movie "demonises" Japan is absurd.

In fact, a great deal of that article is absurd - describing the movie as "anti-Japanese racism", that the Japanese are "not afforded a shred of dignity" and that they are "dehumanised" are fantastical claims. The author describes the end of 400 years of isolation and the beginning of international trade as if it were a purely disastrous event - her claims over WWII are even more eyebrow-raising, given that type of war that America stood to fight on the islands of Japan and the suicidal enemy they faced. She doesn't mention that the American occupiers (under a Democrat-led Whitehouse) forced the Japanese government into establishing a constitution and democratic free elections which previously didn't exist. She doesn't mention how serious American investment made a complete success story out of the battered and beaten country post WWII - a country which is now one of the richest in the world.

Now who's doing the demonising?

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In fact, a great deal of that article is absurd - describing the movie as "anti-Japanese racism", that the Japanese are "not afforded a shred of dignity" and that they are "dehumanised" are fantastical claims.

Where are the Japanese afforded any dignity? In the "lip my stockings" scene? In the 'brack foot' scene? In the various scenes that make fun of their height? Is the viewer ever in the position of laughing with a Japanese character rather than at them?

How is any of that any different to Bernard Manning walking around Pakistan making jokes about curry and turbans and saying "goodness gracious me" in a 'comedy' accent? Really?

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Charlotte's experience in Tokyo is very different from Bob's, Rowan. Watch the film again.

I'd really rather not. But I'm not talking about the characters' experiences here, I'm talking about the audience's. The audience is presented with scenes that are intended to be comical using embarrasingly crass devices such as the 'l' and 'r' mixup. If the audience were presented with a character finding that amusing, that would be different; but the humour here is arguably aimed directly at the audience. Do you not think?

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Yes, but it's no different to a comedy English stereotype in an American film, is it? It's not promoting a hateful prejudice; the Japanese do confuse the letters 'l' and 'r'.

Charlotte's experience is in traditional Japan; she visits a Shinto shrine and watches a flower arranging class. She also drags Bob to a nightclub and a karaoke bar. None of those scenes are intended to poke fun at the Japanese.

I thought the point was to show the contrasting experiences of being a baffled outsider in a foreign culture and experiencing some of it yourself.

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I'd really rather not. But I'm not talking about the characters' experiences here, I'm talking about the audience's. The audience is presented with scenes that are intended to be comical using embarrasingly crass devices such as the 'l' and 'r' mixup. If the audience were presented with a character finding that amusing, that would be different; but the humour here is arguably aimed directly at the audience. Do you not think?

well, the audience I saw it 'with' weren't exactly laughing their arses off if that's what you mean.

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I'm Scottish. When I watch The Simpsons I laugh wholesale at Willy, the sterotyped Scot - he's got ginger hair, wears a kilt, plays bagpipes, etc. Am I outraged at such a racist sterotype? Am I fuck, he's hilarious.

ACH! Doon toon!

Edit - and I dare anyone to go to Engrish.com and not find it EXCEEDINGLY funny.

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Not true - Bill Murray's character at one point cheats on his wife and really hurts the feelings of Johanssens character when he sleeps with the bar singer - the sense that he KNEW he had done the wrong thing, and that Johanssens character was upset was palpable and made their future encounters uncomfortable. Where is the movie suggesting that insecurities don't have to be worked out there?

The insecurity is on the part of the bint, and Murray is merely made to feel guilty rather than following his own free will on the matter. The bint manipulates Murray, pretty clumsily mind, so as to continue her vicarious existence (this is confirmed by the fact that her husband no longer "entertains" her and Murray is suitably prestigious, in the context of the film, which fuels her lust for power...after all she is a failed graduate, and they hate admitting failure). Murray's wife uses similar levers, but she is bored of him and treats him accordingly (Murray's failed attempt at some kind of sicial empowerment confirms that he is aware of this).

None of this is resolved. Murray is merely starting again with the same problem (if he leaves his wife that is).

As for the racial stereotypes that the Guardian article highlighted they are mostly accurate, for several reasons. The Japanese are portrayed purely as comic appendages to both characters in the film (the bint goes into that stripper bar remember, and that is most certainly done for societal one-up-manship kicks). Admittedly, my wife found the jokes in the film funny (and she even finds the likes of Engrish.com amusing) but that doesn't negate the fact that she still views it as narrow minded racial segregation (after all you are trying to undermine people based on their race, which is something they have no control over). Moreover, and most importantly of all, Coppola was instructed by the Japanese government to include historical aspects of Japanese culture (because they too could see where the stereotypes were going). You merely have to look at who helped finance the film and their mandate on improving cultural awareness in order to realise this.

This kind of racial nonsense is sly and consequently very damaging (because it is eventually accepted as some kind of standard, in that all Irishmen are "idiots" for example). The Japanese aren't "crazy" and nor are the British "great", we are merely human.

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Cacky -

Like it or not, you're not a complete outsider when you visit Japan.

Which means you've a different perspective on things.

Large portions of the film accurately reflect a complete outsider's view of the culture.

Perhaps we ought to start moaning about how British Culture is either HarryPotterfied or EvilSupremeVillianified in Hollywood movies?

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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?

A good guy? Were you watching the same movie? He was caught up with the female movie star. Another flake like himself.

On top of that, he was flirting with the star and *did not* want his wife to join them in the bar for drinks because he was so excited by the silly cow's crap conversation and big tits. In short, the guy was a bit of a twat.

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This kind of racial nonsense is sly and consequently very damaging (because it is eventually accepted as some kind of standard, in that all Irishmen are "idiots" for example). The Japanese aren't "crazy" and nor are the British "great", we are merely human.

If you honestly find the movie to be racist then I can't argue with that. I for one cannot see how it could be viewed as promoting "racial segregation", nor do I see where there is any example of "societal one-up-manship" - the sleasy bar Bob goes to could easily be a sleasy bar in any country (and I've been to some sleeeeeeeeasy bars :D ), there is nothing there that says "Look at those CRAZY Japs!!!". Indeed, we later see the 2 main characters having a laugh with bit-part Japanese characters at the karaoke place... we see Japanese youths having a good time with each other, just like youths in this country do, drinking, taking drugs, etc.

Like I said, I can laugh at daft Scottish things, I don't take offense with them. The comedy is perhaps somewhat crass, but 1) it's still funny and 2) it's not racist. All IMO.

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To be fair, that mental talk show he goes on does a bit.

He's a real japanese celebrity though. I think he's a comedian. I'm not sure if the film is racist, I thought the theme of height was just to show Bobs isolation. I do agree however that too much was made of the l/r mix ups. At times it was a cringe worthy.

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A good guy? Were you watching the same movie? He was caught up with the female movie star. Another flake like himself.

On top of that, he was flirting with the star and *did not* want his wife to join them in the bar for drinks because he was so excited by the silly cow's crap conversation and big tits. In short, the guy was a bit of a twat.

The husband was more sucking up for further work, rather than trying tp pry open the septic knickers off some bony blonde bint. I did like the portrayal of the blonde bimbo though, cunning and suitably acerbic (fair too, though somewhat transparent in motive).

As for that comedy show, that's a legit show but it's shown veeeery late at night (in that most of my friends never watched it). Now London Hearts, that was what everybody followed (kinda like Big Brother but with added fucking EVIL).

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