LOST IN TRANSLATION: DVD
World weary movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is in Tokyo to shoot a whiskey commercial, staying at one of the city's flash hotels. He spends much of his sleepless nights in the lounge bar, where he meets an equally sleepless Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) the young wife of a fashion photographer (Giovanni Ribisi), who has tagged along for the ride. The nocturnal meetings grow into a casual friendship, and as they share strange little 'foreign' experiences, each finding the other's company stimulatingly complex. But as their relationship deepens, the time comes for Bob to return to his wife and family.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A real treat for grown up film lovers, Lost In Translation is everything a good film can be, speaking directly to our senses with actions and inner messages that make words seem superfluous. The effortless communication of what's going on inside the characters is a sublime example of cinema doing its best.
We are given the chance to take part in this experience through our own internal mechanisms, which are first opened up with the massage of laughter. The opening sequences of Bob Harris arriving in Tokyo, from the telling ennui on his face as he taxis into town, to the recognisably bizarre scenes in the studio while he tapes the tv commercial, all feed our sense of humour.
But they also feed our databank with information about Bob as a person. We have put together an identikit of his soul by the time we see him catching her eye in the bar, as the lounge singer (Catherine Lambert) moans out a slo-mo version of Scarborough Fair.
In this oasis of Western culture in the middle of Tokyo, two westerners, isolated from their normal relationships and not very comfortable, strike up a friendship. He is older, worn down to a state of passivity; she is open, hungry and dissatisfied. But of you think this set up leads to the agonies of a one night stand, you'd be underestimating the screenplay.
Sofia Coppola avoids making an obvious film, preferring the more complex, and more satisfying journey of two people who get to take another look at their lives and reconsider their place in it. As Coppola says about this film, "it's about moments in life that are great but don't last...but you always have the memory and they have an effect on you." Just like her film.
'Lost' on Location, a 30 minute fly on the wall cum home video piece is freeform style and ratty but with occasional moments of interest. The five deleted scenes, without commentary, are ... well, five deleted scenes. The 5 minute Matthew's Best Hit TV segment is designed to test your endurance, as this young, energized and blonded Japanese tv host goes through his paces with Murray as the reluctant guest on his crazy tv show.
Now jump to October 2003, as we catch up with Coppola and her star, Bill Murray, who has now grown a greying beard and acquired a crew cut (also greying). Technically this 10 minute piece is no shakes, but it's intermittently interesting, especially when Murray peels off the layers of mutual admiration and gets stuck into the nitty gritty of making the film or into its themes - or when he tells his outrageous anecdotes.
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LOST IN TRANSLATION: DVD (PG)
CAST: Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, Akiko Takeshita, Kazuyoshi Minamimagoe, Kazuko Shibata, Take, Ryuichiro Baba, Akira Yamaguchi, Catherine Lambert, François du Bois
PRODUCER: Sofia Coppola, Ross Katz
DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola
SCRIPT: Sofia Coppola
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
PRESENTATION: 1.85:1 , DD 5.1 SS
SPECIAL FEATURES: Lost on location; Matthew's Best Hit TV (extended); Kevin Shields' City Girl music video; deleted scenes; a conversation with Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
DVD RELEASE: May 5, 2004