Lost In Translation


“The more you know about yourself, about what you want to do; the less you’re disappointed with yourself.”
– Bob Harris, Lost In Translation

It’s funny that I downloaded this film in 2009, tried to watch once in 2011; at that time, I had just watched 30 minutes and then I had something to do, I dropped it with the thought that I would continue to watch it so soon. I didn’t know that I dropped it until now – 4 years later. I dropped it so long that I forgot what I had watched in first 30 minutes and I have to rewatch all again. I don’t know it’s good thing or bad thing for me to understand most of Japanese dialouge in this film. If I watched this film 4 years ago, maybe I couldn’t understand what Japanese said and it would really made me feel lost in translation like them (because there’s no subtitle for Japanese conversations in this film). But since I watch this film now and can understand most of what Japanese say, I can’t really have the same feeling like them. I can understand their feeling when they go to another country, listen to the language they can’t understand but I imagine that it’s more interesting for me to watch this film if I can’t understand Japanese like them.

But understanding Japanese in this film is also somehow interesting.


In the scene the director said to Bod, he said: “Look to the camera gently with your feeling, the feeling like you meet your old friend…” And his translator just said: “Look to the camera.” He was so surprised, he said that: “Did he say just only that? But I think he talk more than that.”

In the scene Bob talked with old Japanese woman, that woman asked him: “How many years have you lived in Japanese?” Because he didn’t understand, she said: “Japan… upper… 何年(how many years)…?” The way she said “upper” with her hands to describe the meaning of “live” made me smile. Of course, he hadn’t still understood yet. And when she came back from foot test, she saw a teddy bear. I felt warm… Maybe it’s the only circumstance when they didn’t understand Japanese made me feel warm. In the other same circumstances, it just had a lost, lonely feeling.


I like the scene that Charlotte went to the temple, and she looked at the monks strangely. I understand her feeling. Sometimes, I want to believe in religion so much, whatever religion is okay, just want to have something to rely on. But I couldn’t. I can’t really believe in whatever religion. I just can like them or love them, and believing is totally different thing. Therefore, whenever I go to the temple, watching their activity, I always feel lost. I bowed my knees, I prayed too but somewhere in my mind, I couldn’t actually believe anything. So, I understand her feeling at that time. But in the other scene when the film nearly ends, she went to the temple again. This time, there was a Japanese traditional wedding ceremony. She looked at the bride and the groom with smile. That smile was beautiful. It’s a change. I love her smile. I love Charlotte’s smile. I love Scarlett’s smile. Her smile when she turned back to Bob because of hearing his calling. Her smile when she cried after all. Her smile was still sad but having a tiny light in that grey day. I totally agree with Roger Ebert about this idea: “I loved the way Bob and Charlotte didn’t solve their problems, but felt a little better anyway.”



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