Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation ★★★½

"I wish I could sleep."

I had no interest in rewatching Lost in Translation until I read this review and realised that when I first saw this there was no way I could relate to it. That has changed. The part of the review that was most striking to me was in how it described Tokyo as being this fast moving, full of culture place but because of the language barrier and other factors those things that might look amazing from the outside can actually lead to loss of identity and the feeling that you are tiny.

Living somewhere that makes you a nobody, that renders you new and without background is one of the most freeing things a person can do. But in that physical freedom and fresh start there is a wandering of the mind. Staring out large windows and remembering you are voiceless in a sea of millions, Admiring the beauty of the city but being fearful of its neautrality towards you. You wont make a difference here. You could disappear entirely - and without a sound.

The world is still, and you are moving around like a hazy, almost gone, TV signal left over from something before. You may as well be a ghost. Yet in the small moments of integration the surroundings start to be less clinical and impersonal. Those moments of connection keeping you tied to the ground. You begin to look for comfort in the only thing left that could bring it, people. And suddenly they are everything.

I remember my first drive through the city, in the back of a taxi with a driver I could not talk to. I looked at every window, person, and car. For the first time in my life I was truly alone. I went through a days long grieving process that I'm sure some of you will be familiar with. In my writing I described the home sickness feeling like a depression that focused all its attention on nausea. I came looking for catharsis, meaning, purpose... Instead I realised no matter where you are, existentialism is the same and life isn't a movie. Neither is Lost in Translation in a traditional sense. I had to self reflect to really find something in this film. Because before I felt nothing for it.

It can all be a bit soulless but there are moments of connection spread out in that time too, that feel more pure than anything else. Like flower arranging. You can look at people speaking and understand nothing, there's an unreal inability to connect. But kindness transcends and you feel as if you might belong temporarily because of a small thing like a smile. The highs are higher and the lows are lower when you're suspended in time like that, when every interaction is either meaningful or totally disorientating. I guess I'm more of a Charlotte.

The film is strange in the sense we get to experience another person's solitude in a mundane way. Something we don't often see, even if people tell us how they feel you don't get to see it like this. Where other people might have seen pointless wallowing in space, Coppola sees clarity and the truth of the fact we are the most "us" when we are alone.

The second part of the film focuses more on the finite reality of things and loss. See, even if your new circumstances weren't perfect, there's still something particularly dreadful about the day you leave. You find yourself considering staying, which is madness considering your experience. But occasionally a friendship or a romance surpasses hardships. There's no right answer and you can ask the same question every day with no new conclusions, do I stay or do I go? I'm finding this difficult to review or talk about because it's so personal, not to me in specificity but just in how we live and experience life. Parts of Lost in Translation left me cold. But as Bob makes his way back to the airport and the camera starts to again pick up the beauty of the surroundings, just to add that bitterness to leaving, I couldn't help but cry for him. In the irony of the fact the person to which he feels like he might belong is in a place he cannot, or even worse a sting, maybe he can but is not brave enough to find out. We are all destined to go back, we convince ourselves to. It's the eternal "what if" that holds the most weight. Sofia Coppola has no trouble understanding and conveying something I myself can't verbalise.

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