Lost In Translation
... The fantastic new Sofia Coppola ...

I've been to the movies on Thursday the 18th of March '04. "Brother Bear" only screened in the afternoon, "Along Came Polly" seemed a little too "laugh out loud" and Monster hadn't arrived yet. It was the ideal moment to see "Lost In Translation", which I had been wanting to see for quite some time.

I knew Bill Murray from good (Groundhog Day, The Royal Tenenbaums) and less good (Ghostbusters II) flicks, but he is not my favourite actor. I won't avoid his films, but I also won't see them specifically for him. Scarlett Johansson was mere known by name, I've never seen her perform.

You could immediately blame Sofia Coppola for having a quick laugh at the Japanese for the first half of the movie. Think again, because these rather funny interventions are needed to pave the way for the feeling that echoes throughout the movie : lost in a foreign country, in a strange culture, an unknown language.

During the movie, I was wondering "Why is she (Sofia) doing that? Why is this happening? Isn't the pace a bit too slow? Is there a story or isn't there?" ... but it was purely enjoyable to experience the unhurried atmosphere that every pore of this movie oozes all along. No bullshit, no crappy camera-shots, just an honest representation of two people on a visit in Japan.

When they first meet, you immediately feel that Bob (Murray) and Charlotte (Johansson) match so much more than Charlotte and her husband do. It's obvious from the beginning Charlotte's marriage is in trouble.

The more time they get to spend with each other (Charlotte's husband is away for a photo-shoot anyway), the more you see their platonic relationship turn into something beautiful. I was constantly mumbling "Come on, grab her, she loves you!".

When they separate in the end, he hurries back to her, whispers some sweet words in her ear, grabs her firmly and gives her a (nearly) endless hug. I burst into tears and sought for a tissue ...

In a time where TV and theatres lavish us with unbelievably bad junk (a "The Fast And The Furious"-style trailer with noisy motorbikes preceded the movie), this movie is a real relief. It's Hollywood, they're actors, it's all fake and papa Francis must've helped here and there, but Sofia's talent is undeniable. These 105minutes are fantastic, grand cinema to which I bow my head and utter a "thank you".

"Go and see for yourself" is a more appropriate expression than ever.

Julian, 23 March 2004