Sunday, February 23, 2014

"Lost in Translation" - A Sophia coppola Masterpiece


The strange alienation of man in society is a theme that has been explored many times in various art forms, especially in literature. To capture the essence of this deep human void on screen is an art that requires the confluence of many facets of film making. A proper setting, great actors, a subtle story line and above all, a director who can visualize frames and sequences that touch the undercurrent of sadness and non-fulfillment in life. Sophia Coppola, the daughter of legendary Francis ford Coppola has managed to get it all right in this wonderfully sensitive and meaningful 2003 movie “Lost in translation”. The film revolves around an aging and successful actor and a lonely and intellectually alive housewife, running into each other in a Hotel in Tokyo. Each trying to find a sense and purpose in life and its relationships, but unable to touch the spot of solace within. Set in the mechanized, fast paced environs of Tokyo, the movie beautifully explores the creeping uneasiness of their lives and the complete disconnect with it. Bill Murray and the stunning Scarlett Johansson play these roles with an ease and perfection that makes it look so true and effortless. There is nothing in the story line that resembles a narrative: a beginning or an end; each frame explores existential boredom , smeared with dishonest emotions, and the concomitant inner frustration that it typically brings.

Sophia Coppola has learnt well from her father: The mellowed play of light and darkness, the silhouetted angles of the camera, the disjoint dialogues , the wonderful evocation of atmosphere that contrasts and highlights the inner crisis of the protagonists, clean eye for detail, the hauntingly relevant background score - elevates this two hour drama into an aesthetically pleasing and deeply satisfying experience.

Scarlet Johansson comes as revelation. Twenty nine years old, considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the last decade by Playboy and Esquire among others, an accomplished singer - she plays the role of Charlotte to perfection. It couldn't have been done better. The sweet innocence of her face, the divinely sculpted body; phenomenal acing talent, limpid dark blue eyes that reflects sadness in all its dark hues, overwhelming screen presence for one so young ; leaves us wondering how these actors are nurtured and nourished by a system that keeps churning out actors of this caliber all the time. Is there an elixir, a formula that Indian films can learn or borrow..?? Scarlet missed the Oscar by a whisker, but won numerous critical accolades for her role. Interestingly, the Movie was also a commercial success. Probably, the public found reflections of their only inner emptiness reflected on screen and empathized with it.

I loved this movie and I am sure my educated readers to whom movies represent something more than rip-roaring entertainment will find this a rewarding piece of work. Watch it…….

God bless…..

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