Essay on Lost in Translation

Essay on Lost in Translation

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After a rocky start to her directing career with Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola finds her groove in her second feature film Lost in Translation. Written and directed by Coppola, the film sets off to explore the unusual relationship between two jet-lagged strangers searching for clarity in their lives. The simple bond that ensues entices the audience with its relatable and genuine emotions. Too often, Hollywood seems to tell the audience what to feel, instead of using film properly: to show emotions.
Both the young and the old are captured by this candid and unexpected story of a friendship. Bob Harris (Bill Murray), a washed out, middle-aged actor doing a $2 million commercial in Tokyo, develops a strong friendship with Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) who has accompanied her new husband on another one of his posh photo shoots. Both characters find themselves in a period of uncertainty. Bob, feeling more and more estranged from his wife, relates to the woes of Charlotte as she struggles to find her own path in life, at times questioning her marriage. Their relationship sparks from a mutual time-zone induced insomnia that has them bumping into each other at the hotel bar at all hours of the night. Regardless of the age difference, this relationship feels much more real to each of them, than the superficial world of whiskey commercials and celebrities into which they have fallen. When Charlotte’s husband leaves her for the weekend to go on a photo shoot in southern Japan, their relationship takes off. Together they venture out into Tokyo, all the while drawing closer to each other. The pivotal scene comes when Charlotte seeks advice about her relationship from Bob, showing the intimacy that has developed between them. While always ...


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...ost abrupt of cuts and edits to feel smooth and natural. Coppola’s fondness for music is evident from her extensive use of on-screen musical elements such as the jazz bar, the karaoke, and Charlotte’s musician friends. Even as they tramp through the city, the rush of cars and the shouts of people become a kind of music. Every sound in this film plays an integral part in the overall tone.
The key to Lost in Translation lies in its simplicity. It is a film about real people with real problems and real emotions. With Sofia Coppola’s excellent eye for cinematography and her perfect balance between drama and comedy, it is no wonder that this film received four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Director. For a good laugh about the real world, watch Lost in Translation, and maybe you won’t feel so lost afterwards.

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