Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Ten Movies That Defined My Decade.

8. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

The first time I saw "Lost in Translation" I was with two friends.
"That was it?!?" one of them exclaimed.
"What did he tell her?" the other replied just as shocked when it ended.
The only thing they agreed on was how much it had sucked.
They also agreed that I must've been some sort of a crazy person for feeling so elated after watching this.
And in fact not even I was sure what had moved me so much about it. Why had I invested so much in the simple story of Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson)? Why had I been so fascinated by the moments when "nothing" happened and we just watched the characters watching something else?
Two days after I saw it, the movie won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. If it had been up to me it would've also won Best Director.
It was Coppola who crafted something so delicate and bruising, so intimate and detached. You could also touch her influences during the movie: her story extracted out of a Wong Kar Wai journal, her sexy camera angles straight out of that Alain Resnais movie and well to mention Fellini would be too easy (considering "La Dolce Vita" is featured in one prominent scene).
But Coppola wasn't proving how well versed she was in the cinematic arts, she was declaring she had a voice of her own.
Extremely autobiographical, the movie is able to be both specific and very general. Maybe not all of us have been as deeply annoyed by Ms. Diaz as she was (Anna Faris gave by far my favorite limited performance of the decade) but almost everyone has had that moment when they feel just lost.
You don't even have to like the characters, for all I know Bob comes off looking very arrogant most of the time and Charlotte is a stereotype of mid-twenties ennui, but they transcend their facades and become beautiful archetypes that detail the saving capacity of love and the inexplicable bond created through friendship.
Who cares what Bob told her in the end? What's important is that they will never forget each other, they will live within one another even if they don't meet again.
With them Coppola beautifully captured the essence of spirituality and faith.
To this day I don't know of my friends "got" why I loved this movie so much, but I'm sure by now they also have been told things that help keep them warm at night.


BrianZ said...

Beautifully written piece on Lost in Translation. Thank you.

www.lamparas.biz said...

It won't truly have effect, I suppose so.