Angry Robot

Land of the Rising Cliche

Interesting thing from the NYT about recent US films about Japan and their reception there. It mentions Kill Bill, Lost in Translation and The Last Samurai, and relates to this. Japanese folk seem to resent Coppola’s film the most. I found it only incidentally about Japan; it was a film about two losers falling in love, thus a foreign nation makes them seem more awkward, and Japan makes them seem even outdated, obsolete. That said, it’s no film of the year or anything.

5 comments on "Land of the Rising Cliche"

  1. ÿ says:

    -“Movies, finally, can’t help but dwell in a kind of iconography”, Mr Zwick said. What bullshit. Movies can dwell wherever they may. “I, finally, couldn’t help myself…” is more like it.
    -“Jokes about short Japanese men are a cheap laugh.” This is weird grounds for attacking LIT. I didn’t laugh, or take it as a joke when Bill was in the elevator (or shower) – and I don’t buy that it was intended as a laugh-out-loud sight-gag. Some thought this, perhaps because they were primed by giving money to see a Bill Murray movie, but c’mon. The movie is about – at least in one respect – a tall American man in Japan, the mere sight of which is something that will stir a chuckle in a portion of the population. I don’t buy that Coppola or her movie are obliged to not depict this for reasons of cultural insensitivity. Poo poo on that.
    -Yes, the prostitute scene wasn’t great, but you could say this of many movies. I still thought LIT was super. The last few scenes… sweet mortality!

    It’s an interesting article. I like it that Lukas Schwarzacher quotes so liberally from message boards – and I’m not just saying that to make fun of his name.

  2. D says:

    Hey, where youse been kiddo?

    I too liked LIT and was just recently defending it from someone who dismissed it as a ‘small movie’. I thought something like that at first – and in a way it makes sense, since the script was apparently only 70 pages long – but it’s small if falling in love can ever be small. I suppose *SPOILER SPOILER* had they consummated their love it would have felt bigger, more important.

  3. ÿ says:

    The two get it on in the special features section of the DVD.

  4. sarah! says:

    I don’t think Lost in Translation was a move about falling in love. They were both already in love, even if they were no longer happy. It was about them connecting. It was about them finding something in each other that they had forgotten existed, falling into banal everday lives. It’s not only better that they didn’t “consumate” this, it’s vital to the movie. It would have shown a lust that wasn’t there, that didn’t need to be there, and would have tainted the pure bond they shared.

  5. ÿ says:

    Interesting, Sarah! – I didn’t think Scarlette was “in love” – I thought she was in denial about having already lost interest in her husband, who was losing interest in her, which is what happens to people who marry when they’re 20 – but maybe I was projecting. That to me, tho, is why Bill Murray’s character- who was older and wiser and knew more about what it meant to be married, and was also more resigned to being married – could justify a one night stand, but couldn’t put the moves on someone he really cared about who was openly admiring him for all his life-experience. It would have been immoral and they knew it, which, as in life, didn’t necessarily make it easier…
    Which is to say, I saw plenty of lust in both characters. Older men are obviously done-in by any attention they can get from younger women– it’s as exciting to them as the notion of death is dreadful. But I also thought she had lust too, kind’a – the idea that she turned him on turned her on – the allure of the older man had a certain pull – judging from her body language and all that seemed to go unsaid.
    Point being, LIT had such authentic characters it inspires divergent views, which inspires conversation, which is different from the “wasn’t that explosion so cool?” conversation you hear outside what I tend to think of as “Big” movies.
    Ok, I’m gonna go watch Star Wars 2 again.

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