Friday, February 06, 2004

Why I worry about Lost In Translation

Expounding a bit on yesterday's snarky 'tudinal entry, regarding the movie 'Lost In Translation' (hey, like I otherwise have something vital to blog about):

If you agree with Momus' premis, that Coppola is approaching this as a 'window on the world' piece, rather than being aware of the film's natural, inherent aspect of being a visual artifact, then I'm worried. His litany of betrayals all seem plausible. They read, to me, as an indictment of movies, commerically motivated movies, in general. Mass entertainment vehicles can never reflect the true complexities of the real world. By default, they have an agenda: a love story, an adventure, an exploration of a personality. Whatever the primary theme, something else will always be given short shrift. They also have an inherent limiter: with only a couple of hours, how can a director accomplish much more? Therefore the 'window on the world' conceit is either jingoistic, sadly naive, or the review misses the mark entirely. Is the movie something else?

Yes, of course I should see the movie before I dismiss it. Bill Murrary is occasionally funny. But if Japan - and the Japanese culture, the Japanese youth subculture - are portrayed from the sole perspective of an overwhelmed western visitor, it's not what any of it is really about. If they are used only as backdrop, which Momus tends to suggest is the case, the movie is only about the principal characters, nothing more. The storytelling could take place anywhere.

Oh, for the record, Momus says his screed is intentionally written in the style of one Pier Paolo Pasolini. Maybe it's not Momus, but the later, to whom I'm relating.


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