Tuesday, January 20, 2004

(Warning: this post contains spoilers for Lost in Translation)

Marilyn and I went to see Lost in Translation last night. I love going to a cinema with a really big screen, especially when the film is shot as beautifully as this one. I got a feeling I was going to like it, right from the start. Lots of memories of Japan: the surrealism of Tokyo, Japanese TV, trying to make head or tail of restaurant menus, navigating the subway system, the overwhelming noise of pachinko and the arcades, and the scary seriousness of the ubertrendies working the games for all they're worth...

But what I loved most of all was the movie's delicate poise, the sense of two people struggling to find themselves. Bill Murray playing the actor, always playing other people. Scarlett Johansson as the recent graduate, looking for what she's supposed to be. There is nothing stable in the film. Everything is relational - place seen through the prism of personality, personality only apprehended through context and locale. "We should never come back here," says Johansson's character, "because it'll never be as much fun." But the same could be said about the two characters - how could they meet somewhere else, some time else, without defiling the purity of their Tokyo experience?

It reminded me that sometimes you don't need to scratch the itch. Feel the moment for what it is. Kiss the joy as it flies.


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