Scenic Views #1: The end of Lost in Translation

Everybody loves movie quotes.  They encapsulate what we like about our favorite films and most beloved characters, entering the lexicon and becoming a synecdoche for the films themselves, providing an easy, accessible way for just about anyone to participate in film as a shared cultural experience.  Two Star Wars fans who overhear each other say, “these are not the droids you’re looking for” or “do or do not; there is no try” are much more likely to share an affinity, even with great disparities in their backgrounds.  This is what art–high or low, mainstream or cult–ultimately is good for.  Not to mention that providing fans a means to share their enthusiasm also exponentially increases the odds for both immediate and long-term success.  And this is what makes the end of Lost in Translation so interesting and so bold.  Intentionally ending a movie with dialogue the audience can’t hear is  a bit like resolving a popular song to a note other than the tonic–it’s going to feel a bit uncomfortable and weird.  Nevertheless, that’s how Lost in Translation ends; fans are left to explore what they didn’t hear Bob say to Charlotte, and it works beautifully. 


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