Lost in Translation


1h 42m 2003

Brief Synopsis

Bob Harris and Charlotte are two Americans in Tokyo. Bob is a movie star in town to shoot a whiskey commercial, while Charlotte is a young woman tagging along with her workaholic photographer husband. Unable to sleep, Bob and Charlotte cross paths one night in the luxury hotel bar. This chance meeti

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Oct 3, 2003
Premiere Information
Telluride Film Festival: 29 Aug 2003; Venice Film Festival: 31 Aug 2003; Toronto Film Festival: 5 Sep 2003; LA and NY openings: 12 Sep 2003
Production Company
American Zoetrope; Elemental Films; Focus Features
Distribution Company
Focus Features
Country
Japan and United States
Location
Tokyo, Japan; Kyoto,Japan; Tokyo,Japan

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m

Synopsis

Bob Harris, a middle-aged, American actor struggling with a midlife crisis, is forced by his declining movie career to accept a lucrative contract endorsing Suntory, a Japanese whiskey. Upon his arrival in Tokyo to film a television commercial for the whiskey, Bob is overwhelmed by culture shock. En route to the luxurious Plaza Hotel, Bob gazes at the staggering array of neon signs and is bemused to see one of his own billboards touting Suntory. At the hotel, Bob meets the executives who will be guiding him through his daily duties, and after they leave him, futilely attempts to sleep. Jetlagged and remorseful over having forgotten his son's birthday, Bob makes his way to the hotel's lounge, where a female American singer is performing. Bob wearily abandons his refuge when two enthusiastic fans question him about one of his famous action movies, then spends a restless night tossing and turning. After being wakened by automatically opening curtains and battling an awkwardly placed shower head, Bob goes to the set of the television commercial. There, he is confused by the long conversations in Japanese between the intense director and the nervous translator, who relates only the briefest of instructions to Bob. Uncertain that he is receiving an adequate translation of the director's wishes, Bob does the best he can with the mundane dialogue. Meanwhile, also staying at the Plaza is a young American couple, Charlotte and John, who is a photographer. John is in Japan to photograph a rock and roll band, while Charlotte has accompanied him more out of a sense of boredom than of purpose. Unnerved by her lack of direction and a growing feeling that her marriage is failing, Charlotte also suffers from insomnia and spends her time roaming the crowded streets or visiting Buddhist shrines. After filming the commercial, Bob returns to his room, where a prostitute sent by the advertising agency visits him. Appalled by the woman's mangled English and bizarre attempts to seduce him, Bob escapes from her. The next morning, the executives ask Bob to stay a few extra days in order to appear on a highly rated television show, but Bob, feeling increasingly disoriented, is reluctant to agree. Bob then focuses on a photo shoot for the whiskey, at which the photographer, who barely speaks English, asks the tuxedo-clad actor to assume poses reminiscent of the "Rat Pack" and "James Bond." Disgusted by his posturing and still unable to sleep, Bob goes to the hotel lounge, where Charlotte, amused by his ill-fitting tuxedo, smiles at him. The next morning, Charlotte is less amused when John bumps into Kelly, a vacuous American actress who gushes over his photography. While Charlotte is irritated by Kelly's lack of intelligence and imagination, John urges her not to be so condescending. That night, the two insomniacs again meet in the lounge and upon striking up a conversation, Bob admits to Charlotte that his marriage is in trouble, and that he feels he should be doing real acting instead of the high-paying but unsatisfying endorsement. Charlotte, who recently graduated from Yale with a philosophy degree, reveals that she has been married for only two years but also feels lost in the world. The next evening, Charlotte and John are in the lounge with Kelly, who is doing publicity for her latest movie, and Charlotte abandons their pointless conversation to join Bob. Bob teasingly offers to make Charlotte his accomplice in a "prison break" to escape the country, and Charlotte, once again charmed by his ready wit, agrees to accompany him. The next day, John leaves for another city while Charlotte remains behind so as not to interfere with his work. Upon running into Bob at the hotel pool, Charlotte invites him to accompany her and some friends on a night out on the town. During an unusual evening of visiting nightclubs, drinking, attempting to converse in a hodge-podge of Japanese, English and sign language and singing karaoke, Bob and Charlotte become fast friends. After carrying the sleepy Charlotte from the taxi to her hotel room, Bob tucks her in and resignedly goes to his own room, from which he calls his wife Lydia. As usual, Bob and Lydia's conversation is strained on both sides. The next day, Charlotte shows Bob her recently injured toe, and he insists on taking her to a hospital. After another strange encounter with people whom they cannot understand, they are drawn even closer to each other. That night, Bob meets Charlotte and her friends at a strip club, but Bob and Charlotte, uncomfortable with the lurid atmosphere, quickly leave together. After a walk through the city, they return to the hotel, and upon discovering that neither of them can sleep, watch television in Bob's room. Lying companionably together on the bed, they share their frustrations about their lives, and when Charlotte asks Bob if marriage gets easier as time passes, Bob answers her honestly that it sometimes does not. Charlotte confesses that she has tried both writing and photography but is proficient at neither and feels that she is aimless. Content at being together, the pair finally falls asleep with Charlotte curled up next to Bob. The next day, Charlotte goes alone to Kyoto, where she admires the more traditional Japanese appearance of the countryside and its residents. Meanwhile, Bob agrees to stay in Tokyo in order to be near Charlotte for a few more days, but is deeply depressed after appearing on the ridiculous talk show with its hyperactive host. Bob then receives a call from Lydia, who does not know how to respond when he sadly declares that he feels lost. After watching himself on the show that evening, Bob goes to the lounge and ends up sleeping with the singer. The next morning, Charlotte knocks on Bob's door and invites him to lunch, but when she hears the singer, becomes upset and leaves. Bob meets Charlotte for lunch anyway, but Charlotte's feeling of betrayal and Bob's defensiveness over having hurt her prevent them from enjoying the oddly prepared meal. Late that night, a fire alarm draws them outside, where, hoping to make up, they discuss their lunch. In the lounge, they try not to succumb to their romantic attraction, even though they are both distressed that Bob is returning to the United States in the morning. Finally going upstairs, they give each other a kiss on the cheek before saying good-night. In the morning, Bob is frustrated in his attempt to bid Charlotte a proper farewell by the fawning Suntory executives, who repeatedly ask him to pose for photographs. Unable to break free of the crowd, Bob says an awkward goodbye to Charlotte, then leaves in a car bound for the airport. As he is being driven away, however, Bob glimpses Charlotte walking along the street and asks the chauffeur to stop. Running to Charlotte, Bob finally embraces her. Charlotte also gives in to her feelings and cries as Bob comforts her. After sharing a brief but tender kiss, the couple then says goodbye and smiles fondly at each other before parting.

Crew

Hitoshi Abe

Office prod Assistant

Lance Acord

Director of Photographer/Camera op

Akemi

Hair/Makeup

Dawn Angel

Mix facility support

Mikiko Anzai

Loc Coordinator

Kim Aubry

American Zoetrope post prod

K. K. Barrett

Production Design

Ashley Bearden

Product placement Coordinator

Richard Beggs

Music Editor

Richard Beggs

Sound Designer

Richard Beggs

Re-rec mixer

George Berndt

Addl ADR Editor

Susan H. Bodine

[Attorney]

Anita Brown

Wardrobe Supervisor

Nacio Herb Brown

Composer

Buddy Buie

Composer

Eva Z. Cabrera

Script Supervisor

Andrea Cannistraci

[Attorney]

Chie Che

Assistant Props master

Shari Chertok

Researcher

Daiki Chiba

Casting Assistant

Alison Cohen

[Attorney]

David Cohen

ADR/Dial Editor

Paul Cook

Composer

Francis Ford Coppola

Executive Producer

Roman Coppola

Addl Japanese unit

Sofia Coppola

Producer

Sofia Coppola

Writer

Blake Crawford

Stand-in for Mr. Murray

Giovanni Cristiani

Composer

Rick Darnell

Composer

Dean Daughtry

Composer

Ethan Derner

Mix facility support

Des-row Union

Composer

Maureen Duffy

Bond company

Jean-benoit Dunckle

Composer

Akira Ebata

Driver

Jason Falkner

Composer

Jonathan Ferrantelli

Assistant to Ross Katz

Bryan Ferry

Composer

Susan Finch

Addl Assistant Editor

John Finn

Prod accountant, USA

Sarah Flack

Editing

Bob Fredrickson

Timer

Eiji Fujii

Driver

Shu Fujimoto

2d 2d Assistant Director

Arthur Garfunkel

Composer

Mitch Glazer

Associate Producer

Nicolas Godin

Composer

Hirohito Gotou

Bilingual Assistant

Callum Greene

Line prod

Marvin Hamlisch

Composer

Hiroshi Harada

Key set PA

Matthew Hartman

Sound intern

Noriko Hattori

Wardrobe Supervisor, Kyoto

Roy Hawkins

Composer

Stephanie Hayman

Addl Japanese casting

George T. Hayum

[Attorney]

Susan Hebert

Assistant to Sofia Coppola

Koji Hirano

Set PA

Tim Holmes

Composer

James Honeyman-scott

Composer

Haruomi Hosono

Composer

Chrissie Hynde

Composer

Ai Ichiki

Assistant prod office Coordinator

Hiroya Igawa

Chief Assistant Director

Kiyotaka Inagaki

Driver

Kiyoshii Inoue

Line prod, Japan

Yoshio Ishikawa

Best boy Electrician no. 1

Tomiko Ishiyama

Assistant set dec

Takuro Ishizaka

2d Assistant Camera

Rick James

Composer

Tom Jenkinson

Composer

Steve Jones

Composer

Takeshi Kagami

Electrician

Gus Kahn

Composer

Sakae Kaminaka

Driver

Michiaki Kamochi

Best boy Electrician no. 2

Sayuri Kanamori

Assistant to Giovanni Ribisi and Anna Faris

Takuya Kaneko

Assistant loc Manager

Akira Kanno

Best boy grip

Glenn Kaspryzcki

Recording

Anthony G. Katagas

Prod Supervisor

Motonobu Kato

2d 2d Assistant Director

Ross Katz

Producer

Takahide Kawakami

1st Assistant Director

Hiroko Kawasaki

Prod consultant

Fukushi Kawata

Assistant hair/Makeup

Takahiro Kikuchi

Addl Assistant set dec

Michael Kirchberger

Supervisor Sound Editor

Jamie Kirkpatrick

Assistant Editor

Robert Knox

Re-rec Supervisor

Brian Kobo

Bilingual Coordinator

Tomoko Kojima

Assistant to Natsuko Nezu

Ryoichi Kondo

Japanese casting

Drew Kunin

Prod Sound mixer

Kiyoshi Kurokawa

Loc Manager, Kyoto

Towako Kuwajima

Set Decoration

Helmut Lang

Mr. Murray's Wardrobe provided by

Jennifer Letterman

REditor Car Post, Editor facilities

James Levine

Mix facility Coordinator

Nick Lowe

Composer

John Lydon

Composer

Roger Joseph Manning Jr.

Addl Music

Roger Joseph Manning Jr.

Composer

Glen Matlock

Composer

Takashi Matsumoto

Composer

Masako Matsumura

Assistant prod office Coordinator

Richard Mcguire

Composer

Jill Meyers

Music clearances

Ross Miller

Insurance by Dennis Reiff & Associates

Eriko Miyagawa

Bilingual Assistant

Taro Miyake

Office prod Assistant

Yasushi Miyata

Addl 2d Assistant

Everett Moore

Assistant Sound Editor

Marnie Moore

Foley artist

Takuji Murata

Loader

Atsushi Naito Esq.

Prod attorney, Japan

Hiroto Nakagaki

Casting Assistant

Momoko Nakamura

Assistant art Director

Katumi Nakane

Bilingual Assistant

Rika Nakanishi

Art Department Coordinator

Hirofumi Nakase

Stunt Coordinator

Natsuko Nezu

Prod accountant, Japan

David Nichtern

Composer

Hitomi Nimura

Assistant set dec

Masayuki Nishimura

Electrician

Tonomi Nishio

Set Decoration

Robert Nix

Composer

Ryo Nobuka

Addl Assistant set dec

Kimiko Onishi

Screenplay translation

Yuji Oshige

Karaoke video Editor

Angela Panetta

Stand-in for Ms. Johansson

Peaches

Composer

Phoenix

Composer

Bennett Pozil

Prod financing

Jory K. Prum

Foley rec

James Mcleish Reid

Composer

William Reid

Composer

Dennis Reiff

Insurance by Dennis Reiff & Associates

Brian Reitzell

Composer

Brian Reitzell

Music prod

Brian Reitzell

Addl mus/Music Supervisor

Anne Rice

Karaoke Camera op

Fred Roos

Executive Producer

Giorgio Rosciglione

Composer

Anne Ross

Production Design

Morag Ross

Key hair and makeup artist

Nino Rota

Composer

Tom Rowlands

Composer

Carole Bayer Sager

Composer

Miwa Sakaguchi

Casting PA

Keisuke Sakurai

Props Master

Masae Sakurai

Set costumer

Dominic Sands

Composer

Francesco Santucci

Composer

Brian Sarvis

Re-rec engineering

Osamu Sasaki

Addl driver

Yoko Sato

Assistant hair/Makeup

Yoshio Sato

Still Photographer

Stephen Schible

Co-producer

Tomohiko Seki

Set PA

Yumiko Sekiguchi

Bilingual Assistant

Tomoo Senuma

Driver

Kevin Shields

Original Music

Kevin Shields

Composer

Yuki Shimizu

Addl driver

Kazuko Shingyoku

Prod office Coordinator

Julia Shirar

FX Editor

Keizo Shukuzaki

Unit/Key loc Manager

Howard Shur

TV clip Editor

Paul Simon

Composer

Ed Simons

Composer

Matt Sims

Composer

Kira Smith

Boom Operator

Hauko Sone

Casting Assistant

Miles Murray Sorrell

FUEL, title Designer

Kent Sparling

Re-rec mixer

Dan Sperry

Dolby eng

Howard Stein

American Zoetrope mix facility Manager

Nancy Steiner

Costume Design

William Storkson

Foley Supervisor

William Storkson

Addl Music

Ryo Sugimoto

Assistant art Director

Taiichi Sugiyama

2d Assistant Director

Noaki Takagi

Assistant to Scarlett Johansson

Haruka Takahashi

Wardrobe Supervisor

Toru Takahashi

Leadman

Yoko Takeuchi

Bilingual Assistant

Koichi Tanaka

Assistant to Bill Murray

Kumi Tanaka

Assistant to Bill Murray

Sebastian Tellier

Composer

Michelle Tomaszewski

Assistant Designer

Mayumi Tomita

Art Director

Greg Trattner

Bond company

Minoru Tsuruno

Driver

Satoshi Tsuyuki

Key grip

Barry W. Tyerman

[Attorney]

Nobuko Uranishi

Addl 1st Assistant

Antonello Vannucchi

Composer

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Oct 3, 2003
Premiere Information
Telluride Film Festival: 29 Aug 2003; Venice Film Festival: 31 Aug 2003; Toronto Film Festival: 5 Sep 2003; LA and NY openings: 12 Sep 2003
Production Company
American Zoetrope; Elemental Films; Focus Features
Distribution Company
Focus Features
Country
Japan and United States
Location
Tokyo, Japan; Kyoto,Japan; Tokyo,Japan

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m

Award Wins

Best Original Screenplay

2003

Best Original Screenplay

2004
Sofia Coppola

Award Nominations

Best Actor

2003
Bill Murray

Best Director

2003
Sofia Coppola

Best Picture

2003

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Sofia Coppola's onscreen credit reads "Written and Directed by," and she is also listed as one of the producers on a separate title card. The opening and closing cast credits differ in order, with the opening credits listing Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris and Fumihiro Hayashi, while the closing credits are listed in order of appearance. The film's closing credits list "Alone in Kyoto," performed by Air, twice, and include "thank you" acknowledgments for the staff of the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Mathew's Best Hit TV, among others. Included in the acknowledgments for "Location Support," "Product Support," "Wardrobe Support" and "Additional Support" are the Tokyo Medical University Hospital, various temples and shrines, several Japanese publishers, Kurosawa Film Studios and a robotics company.
       Some of the television clips appearing in the picture were taken from MTV, Saturday Night Live and the Federico Fellini-directed Italian film La Dolce Vita (1960). The clip from Saturday Night Live features Murray, in one of the many skits he performed during his years as a regular on the show in the late 1970s, and is supposed to be a scene from one of "Bob Harris'" movies.
       As discussed in several interviews with director-writer Coppola, she wrote the part of Bob specifically for Murray and had no other actors in mind if he declined the part. Lost in Translation, while marking Coppola's second film as a director, represents her first feature-length, original screenplay. Coppola is the daughter of noted filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who served as an executive producer on Lost in Translation and founded American Zoetrope. Coppola's brother Roman served as the director of some of the second unit footage. As noted in the onscreen credits, the film was shot entirely on location in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan. According to a September 15, 2003 Time article, Coppola became intrigued by Japanese culture while spending time there to develop and promote a clothing line.
       The setting of the film, the exclusive Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, was Coppola's first and only choice for the location. An August 2003 Screen International article on the film noted that due to the Park Hyatt's restrictions on when the filmmakers could work, they had to shoot at "crazy hours," especially at night, so that they would not disturb the guests. Coppola noted in the article that when they could not obtain necessary shooting permits for exterior or subway sequences, they "just snuck on with the camera and shot like a documentary. If someone stopped us, we went on to some other place." According to a September 19, 2003 Wall Street Journal item, the Park Hyatt Tokyo was going to offer "film-theme packages" to take advantage of the publicity resulting from Lost in Translation.
       In a September 21, 2003 New York Times article, Coppola stated that the scene in which Bob is befuddled by long directions given to him in Japanese by the television director, which are then translated into English as only very short statements, was based on her own experiences promoting her 1999 debut film, The Virgin Suicides, in Japan. Coppola wrote the scene in English, which was then translated into Japanese for the actor, Japanese rock singer Yutaka Tadokoro; Murray was not given the dialogue in order to enhance the feeling that he could not understand what was being said to him.
       According to a September 15, 2003 Time article, the film had a modest $4 million budget, and in a December 1, 2003 Hollywood Reporter piece, Coppola asserted that she shot the film "low budget enough that if it turned out to be a mess, we just wouldn't release it" in the United States. The film was shot in 27 days over five weeks, with the dailies being shipped to New York every day for editor Sarah Flack to begin the initial assembly of the film.
       According to an October 2003 Variety article, in order to maintain complete control over the production, Coppola sought financing from various companies in exchange for distribution rights in specific countries. Other trade paper news items reported that the remaining foreign distribution rights were sold to Focus Features for $4 million shortly after the picture had begun production. After the film had been completed and was being edited in February 2003, the North American distribution rights were sold to Focus. On September 15, 2003, Daily Variety reported that due to the film's spectacular performance in limited release, "expansions [to more screens] are expected to be more aggressive than previously planned." By the end of 2003, the film had grossed more than $30,000,000 in the United States.
       Lost in Translation garnered excellent reviews, with many critics singling out Murray's performance. In addition to being named one of AFI's top ten films of 2003, Lost in Translation was named in the top ten lists of Newsweek and the National Board of Review. Coppola won the Lina Mangiacapre award at the Venice Film Festival, was named best director of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle and received a Special Achievement nod from the National Board of Review for her direction, writing and producing. Coppola also received a nomination from the Directors Guild for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2003. Scarlett Johansson was named Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, and Murray garnered the Best Actor award from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, as well as being nominated for Best Actor in a Film by the Screen Actors Guild.
       Lost in Translation won the following Independent Spirit Awards: Best Director, Best Feature, Best Male Lead and Best Screenplay. Coppola received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Director. The film received a nomination for Best Picture, as did Murray for Best Actor. The film also received the following Golden Globe nominations: Best Director, Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical, Best Screenplay-Motion Picture, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical. The Art Directors Guild nominated the picture for Best Production Design in a Contemporary Film.

Miscellaneous Notes

Nominated for the 2003 award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Feature Film from the Directors Guild of America (DGA).

Voted one of the 10 best films of 2003 by the American Film Institute (AFI).

Winner of the 2003 award for Best Actor (Bill Murray) from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Winner of the 2003 award for Best Actor (Bill Murray) from the National Society of Film Critics (NSFC).

Winner of the 2003 award for Best Original Screenplay by the Writer's Guild of America (WGA).

Winner of the 2003 awards for Best Director and Best Actor (Bill Murray) from New York Film Critics Circle--marking the first time in 10 years that the director's prize has gone to a woman.

Winner of the 2003 awards for Best Picture and Best Actor (Bill Murray) from the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.

Winner of the Best Actress award (Scarlett Johansson) at the 2003 Venice International Film Festival.

Winner of three 2003 awards from the Boston Society of Film Critics including Best Director, Best Actor (Bill Murray) and Best Actress (Scarlett Johansson).

Winner of three 2003 Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) awards including: Best Picture, Best Actor (Bill Murray) and Best Screenplay. (Note: Tied for Best Screenplay with "The Barbarian Invasions")

Limited Release in United States September 12, 2003

Released in United States Fall September 12, 2003

Released in United States on Video February 3, 2004

Released in United States 2003

Shown at London Film Festival October 22-November 6, 2003.

Shown at Venice International Film Festival (Upstream competition) August 27 - September 6, 2003.

Limited Release in United States September 12, 2003

Released in United States Fall September 12, 2003

Released in United States on Video February 3, 2004

Released in United States 2003 (Shown at London Film Festival October 22-November 6, 2003.)

Released in United States 2003 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival August 29-September 1, 2003.)

Released in United States 2003 (Shown at Venice International Film Festival (Upstream competition) August 27 - September 6, 2003.)

Nominated for the 2004 Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) award for Best Actor (Bill Murray).