Wednesday 20 June 2012
Devouring Films: Lost in Translation
And WHAT a treat it was! Seriously- I was fully prepared for it to be kind of pretentious because, I'm sorry Oscar nominated films, but you usually are; but actually it was anything but. It was funny and warm and about so many different things, but at no point did it seem like it was a film that thought it was better than it was, because, well, it would be difficult to think of something that is better than Lost in Translation. There are a few films, I suppose, and there are definitely films that I like better, but not really that many. It's pretty special.
So you know about Lost in Translation, right? I'm pretty sure everyone's seen it except me by now, since I've been meaning to watch it for about 9 years, but just in case, it goes like this. Bill Murray is an actor (Bob) who goes to Tokyo to be paid a lot of money for making some Japanese whiskey adverts instead of doing a play or something at home, which would please him creatively, and you feel, please his wife emotionally. Scarlett Johansson is a recent college graduate who's in Tokyo with her husband, a famous photographer who has a lot of work to do which means leaving Johansson (Charlotte) alone in their hotel room a lot. Both Charlotte and Bob are feeling lost and displaced, and so when they find each other, it seems like something magical is bound to happen.
And what does happen is a solid friendship between the unlikely couple, conversations that they can't have with their significant others, and something that's so subtle that you could almost blink and miss it until it all comes to a head (you'll know what I'm talking about if you've seen it, I hope. And if not, then watch it!) and you're left going 'oh WOW. I really didn't see that coming.' And I didn't, and yet it still makes the most sense in the world, and I approve of it utterly, even if I don't necessarily think it's something that they would sustain in the real world. Have I just given things away? I hope not...
I think I was basically predisposed to like this film, and I was especially predisposed to like it because of my whole Murakami! Japan! thing that I've got going on right now. But as well as that, the concept of people being lost, not just in a strange country but in their own lives is something that I totally get right now, and it's tempting to believe that being lost, in Japan, would be better than being lost here; but it's probably about the same. So, even if subsequent viewings of this film make it feel like it's not as good as it was this time, I'll know that, at the point at which I watched it, it was perfect. Maybe I shouldn't ever watch it again so it remains like that! ("let's never come here again, because it would never be as much fun.")
And, oh look what I've forgotten to mention- it's actually really funny too! It's not always funny, but it's funny enough to watch with someone who doesn't necessarily like these sorts of films (good ones, that is) and for them to still be entertained, whilst you're going 'this is so amazing...' And that's probably how it avoids being pretentious, and just how it manages to be so awesome. I don't know how I always manage to forget the humour in films like this: it's probably something to do with going 'well, the mise en place was spectacular' (AS level Media Studies, baby!) but I always like the humour just as much as the beauty and poignancy. It's just... not as pretentious to talk about, I guess!
To sum up: Lost in Translation. It's beautiful, it's poignant, it's funny, it's anything and everything you want it to be. It will probably make you want to go to Japan, only with someone you really love so that, even if you're lost, you're lost together. Basically, you want to watch this film. You just might not know it yet. You're so lucky that I'm here to guide you.