About every six months or so, I have an opportunity to see a real film, which is appalling on the face of it, but if it’s one like Lost in Translation, I’m quite fulfilled.
This is one beautiful, elegant, and carefully scripted film, full of a lushness that Americans seem to have abandoned to the French since 1975. Bill Murray, of Groundhog Day, puts in a performance that is somewhere between earthshaking and mindblowing, fulfilling the sad fantasty of every middle-aged American man as he futilely adores with his eyes the strength of youth and privilege in Scarlett Johansson. The two eat up the screen, their eyes do all the talking, and the superbly natural dialogue is a credit to director Sofia Coppola.
The naturalism of the film, and the screen presences of the actors, make for a very uneasy and sad experience throughout, but the beautiful stagesets and music (see previous post) make for utter joy as we witness the unfolding of love in all the wrong places. What struck a small chord in me, as well, was the slow panning of two shots as the two actors look out, about 100 floors above the Tokyo skyline, from their respective hotel rooms. I’m sure that Ms. Coppola intended us to think of the World Trade Center. The last time I was at the WTC I was on the 92nd floor, where I stood for a while looking at Brooklyn, New Jersey, and midtown. The shots in LiT truly approximate that witnessing and I can’t help but think that the director was showing us the space of tragedy, of a different order, taking place in the sky.

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