A Personal Take on Lost in Translation

Japan, a paradise that evokes curiosity and excitement within me, an experience of a world that I’ll never forget; entering into it during a transitional phase into my life, on the edge of finishing my degree as a Nurse. Confusion, regret, and melancholy flooded over me, unsure of what is to come of my future; Will I be truly satisfied with this chosen profession? Are its financial incentives enough to fulfil me? Am I able to reach or maintain the milestones that pass by me? Will I leave this world a happy person?

These were questions that ran through my mind in the months leading to my trip, consuming me with anxiety in ways that I have never felt before. Even with my parents’ financial and emotional support behind me, I was constantly in state of fracture, at a weekly basis trying to rebuild myself only to be penetrated again with these terrifying thoughts. My trip to Japan was my escape, exploring such a beautiful landscape and filled with a deeply-connecting and admirable culture, that the longer I stayed there, the more likely I was to stray away from my family and escape my reality and responsibility, to remain a curious explorer just like I was on my adolescent years.

I could not help myself but reminisce of the past, I fed off nostalgia in an attempt to destroy the path in front of me. I was a weak individual, one who found it to be difficult to even think of the idea of being independent and become a contributing member of society, the world was now shrinked to a size that revolves in the idea of a career and building a family; I am no longer allowed to create mistakes and experiment on finding my passionate ambitions; reality hits you far too soon and the artistic goals that I once reached for had been replaced with practicality and security.

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Spoiled and ignorant I may be, a boy refusing to grow up simply on the frightening thought of responsibility; I know someday I would have to face the music, and I feel with the way things are going for me presently, I am moving in the right direction, almost landing the hurdle to the necessary step in achieving adaptation of a new and more demanding world.

In previous viewings, it was the bond that the two leads share in Lost in Translation that brought warmth to my heart, an original and quiet relationship that speaks volumes in its comforting silences and their awkward positionings; they possessed something that I have always wanted for my own, and even until now, I have yet to succeed such romantic beauty in my life. Loneliness was my illness then, just like insomnia and confusion was Bob and Harris’; it was an issue that I have now found myself coping, desensitised by the ambitious romanticism that I have so long craved, achieving a sense of content that I would never trade away impulsively.

As I constantly return to the film, my connection with the characters have become far deeper than anticipated; it is now in the essence of Charlotte that I found my soul investing, finding a familiarity in her struggle for direction, a wanderer who continues to search for purpose and meaning, a woman plagued by her growing sense of regret and loneliness that she is free from shame in her announcements of being a continuing explorer in her first true conversation with Bob. In her most intimate and soul-crushing of moments, a tear is shed in a conversation she shares with a friend over the phone, filled with a growing sense of embarrassment, hoping that in baring herself would allow her to be free of such emotional burden, but only to be side-shifted by the commitments and responsibilities of her friend, unable to give Charlotte the needed time of day as they themselves are restricted of the world they now reside in; a world where Bob has endured and has now found some time to isolate himself from it and search his soul for the appropriate direction upon his return.

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It is because of my recent trip to Japan that my adoration for the film grew, in ways that I never thought imaginable from a person in my position; I was extremely grateful for my parents for scraping as much as they possibly could to include me in such a wonderful journey, one that opened me to a once foreign culture and find myself rewarded with a new outlook of the country and my present reality. There are multiple moments since my return that my body aches for their food, a compensated and temporary escape that fulfils the desperation inside me to return. Lost in Translation has become one of those compensations that gives me the escaping rush that my body aches for, and on top of it, hoping to re-evaluate my present state, highlighting the growth that I have endured since my previous viewing, and whether it has all led to a direction in my life that I had planned since then.

Smiles filled my face to see the familiar landmarks and experiences that these characters have gone through; Charlotte walking and admiring the temple in Kyoto, the confusion that is felt through the communication with the locals, the beauty and luxury that is found in its lavish hotels and the neon lights prominently above. Sofia Coppola has encapsulated such an experience and found a profound connection with its lost protagonists, succeeding so in the film’s poetic photography and the excellent musical choices that amplifies the romance between its two leads, and the romance between its audience and the world. In a way, I envy Bob and Charlotte for existing within such a story, ending their tale still within its borders, cutting us off before we see what they would ultimately become.

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I have promised in my previous write-up for this film that I would give this a formal review, and it seems with this viewing, to do so I would have to completely detach myself from my emotions. Lost in Translation finds its power in the way it connects with the audience, it finds the sadness and confusion that runs within our hearts and minds, and taps on them in the hopes that it transport you in its two wandering vessels; allowing their journey to become more profound than they actually are.

Fuck, why can’t I hold back the tears?

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5 thoughts on “A Personal Take on Lost in Translation

  1. Wow you really adored it I sadly hated the way they picture Japan in the movie. The girl who almost never leaves her luxury hotel alone when she could have left her busy husband to discover Japan on her own and the numerous cliché though I must say I loved the scene when they film the ad for japanese whisky. It’s always a view of Japan through our own eyes they never seem to lose themselves in the beauty of the country and forget that they are westerners. Also not everybody gets taken to one of those weird bars. It’s like movies about Paris when you think “are we really talking about the same place?”

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    1. Well Coppola’s intention with her characters are meant to be individuals lost in their lives, utilising Japan as a symbol, a place that creates a feeling of isolation; U definitely felt it at first since the country is loyal to its culture and doesn’t pollute its streets with Western iconography, aside from maybe of course the obvious. Japan is a place that is loyal to its culture and residents, allowing tourists to explore but unwilling to compensate for their ignorance, therefore to thrive one must adapt to the country’s culture and lifestyle.

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      1. Yes I agree though I can’t say that I felt isolation the first time more wonder in the
        impossibility of reading anything like being in a fairy tale. I can’t say that after watching the movie I’d have really wanted to go to Japan but then her aim was not to make us go there.

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      2. Well of course you have your own feelings towards Japan and it is fair that her treatment of it is to your disliking. This was a film that hit me at the right time in my life and continues to resonate with through each passing viewing; definitely one of my favourite films.

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