Lost in Translation (re-watch)

Lost in Translation was the subject of my second blog entry four years ago when I first started blogging. I re-watched it the other day, and it made me want to write about it again.

3568fde8cd0564ead31410573bd80677In my original entry, I compared Lost in Translation to Ozu’s Tokyo Story (speaking of great movies), and I think the comparison mostly still holds; however, at least one thing has changed. At the time, I couldn’t see Ozu’s Japan left anywhere in Coppola’s.  I focused on the bright lights/big city images, and there’s certainly plenty of that in Lost in Translation. But there’s also the woman who teaches Charlotte the art of flower arrangement, and the traditional newlyweds she notices while out exploring the city, and the Buddhist temple she visits, and the omikuji note she ties to the tree branch.  I appreciated more this time the contrast (but not tension) between quiet, calm, meditative Japan and loud, exuberant, boisterous wild and crazy Japan.

lostintranslationThe core pull of the movie, however, remains the same. The unbearable lightness of being.  The difficulty of finding one’s way in the first place, and the melancholy sadness of losing it again just when it finally all seems settled. The loneliness of not being able to connect on some levels with the people who mean the most to you and with whom one shares the deepest and longest lasting connections. And most of all, the difference between BEING with someone and being WITH someone. Lost in Translation expresses these themes better than any other I’ve ever seen, and it’s my all-time favorite movie.


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