FILM@JCSM stands for “Fostering Interdisciplinary Learning through Movies.” This semester’s selections are programmed in conjunction with Along the Eastern Road: Hiroshige’s Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido.

You can see “Lost in Translation” on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. in the auditorium. Admission is free, but advance ticket reservation is encouraged. Reserve your tickets.

Chris Keirstead, Department of English, Auburn University, will introduce the film and guide discussion.

About the Film

Contributed by John Gulledge, program assistant

“Lost in Translation” is director Sophia Coppola’s 2003 American drama that follows two characters as they travel to Tokyo, Japan. Touching on universal themes like loneliness and isolation, Coppola’s treatment of the two main characters, Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johanson), centers on the sometimes strange and unexpected bonds that tie.

Bob is a middle aged, washed up actor past his prime who has traveled to Tokyo to shoot a commercial, while Charlotte, the unhappy, young wife of a neglectful and possibly philandering husband, finds herself displaced from America as a tag along to her husband. What is striking is the often subtle third character of the city itself that interacts with Bob and Charlotte as they attempt to negotiate the unfamiliar world to which they journey. What the film does exceedingly well is to highlight a particular experience of “tourism” into the unknown; we have strangers in a strange land completely alien to them, longing for some kind of connection that has been lost as they constantly misread situations and Japanese culture. It’s that strangeness and isolation that serves as the catalyst to the deep bond they form over their shared loneliness in a land completely foreign to them.

Several American critics have hailed “Lost in Translation” a cinematic masterpiece and a master class in film acting. “The New York Times” points out Coppola’s directorial interest in “emotional way stations” not unlike the Inns along the “Hiroshige’s Fifty-Three Stations of Tokaido.” Other critics, however, highlight the decidedly one-sided, American point of view on which the comedy hinges, using the vibrant city and its Japanese inhabitants as a final punch line. Like with most great films, the jury is still out on its nuanced treatment of the displaced characters and their new and unfamiliar locale, and so we welcome you to join us in finding your own translation.

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