Originally Posted by Violinist
Lost in Translation didn't really evoke or communicate anything special. Maybe it's the medium that impressed people, but it was a dreary movie and besides the shots of Johansson sitting in her underwear, it's definately a terrible film. People are the same with music.
Its a movie that works on so many different levels though, just because you choose to ignore, can't understand, or aren't aware of the underlying social context, doesn't mean that the movie is uncommunicative. It just means that you aren't receptive, ignorant, or incapable of understanding its subtleties. I could, and probably will someday, write a dissertation on the multiple cultural veiwpoints espoused in the movie. I find it amazing, and if it was intentional or accidental makes very little difference, the effect is the same. Both cultures involved can watch this movie and come away with completely seperate ideas about what they just watched. For example, from the more traditionalist Japanese perspective, Bill Murray's character can be the the focal point, and portrays a boorish, racist, American tourist, who at every turn mocks and disrespects his hosts, and tries to weasel out of every business obligation and promise he's made. His cavalier personal attitudes and disinclination to take anything seriously is a typical stereotype of Americans. Not only that, its a greater reflection of his life, failed marriage, poor decisionmaking, lack of personal control, and downward spiraling career, and only in such an alien setting can he realize that he has actually been the villian. Basically he is a mess, and not the sympathetic character that you see when you view the movie through western eyes. You can see that through his relationship with Scarlet Johansson's character, assisting in her coming of age, and discovery of different cultures and herself, he is trying to redeem himself through the mutual journey of undertanding and acceptance of situations out of their control. This is completely different than what many people with more western ideals get from this movie, but it works just as well. It works this way because the movie is almost perfectly written, filmed, and edited. It allows the viewers personal biases and experiences to flavor the characters, instead of having your head beaten in by traditional story archetypes. Its trancendental cultural realism. It may not be your cup of tea, but its greatness as film is IMO, undeniable. Not only that, its a beautiful movie.