• Sofia Coppola's 'Lost In Translation' (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies

An aging actor (Bill Murray) bonds with a twenty-something woman (Scarlett Johansson) while in Japan for business.  

A fabulous film.

Sofia Coppola's first film The Virgin Suicides was quite an achievement, minimised by some because behind her stood a famous film father and a prodigiously talented husband in Spike Jonze. With her second film Lost in Translation any doubts held by some about her talent can disappear.

Bill Murray plays an American film star Bob Harris who's come to Tokyo to appear in a whisky commercial for a healthy sum. Alone in a five star hotel, wryly bemused by Japanese customs and the language barrier he strikes up a tentative friendship with Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), who's staying at the same hotel, waiting for her photographer husband(Giovanni Ribisi) to finish an assignment which has taken him away from the capital. The connections between Bob and Charlotte are fleeting, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, and yet despite being understated there's no doubting the unexpressed yearnings each have for the other.

With some films there's so much happening you don't know where to begin, but with Lost in Translation, which is a great title by the way, the approach is minimalist and yet so rich. Sofia Coppola had spent quite some time in Tokyo, it's a city she knows and understands well, she's familiar with the celebrity life, she's able to bring a truth to the cultural alienation as well as to the emotional alienation both Bob and Charlotte are working through. And the cultural alienation isn't confined to the Japanese/American abyss. This is a fabulous film, with such poignant moments you just want to hug them to yourself they're so precious, and so rare in American films these days. This is a defining role for Bill Murray, he's marvellous and so is Scarlett Johansson.



Watch 'Lost in Translation'

Thursday 22 July, 9:30pm on SBS World Movies (NOTE: No catch-up at SBS On Demand)

USA, 2003
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris

Sofia Coppola's 'Lost In Translation'

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