CFS gets “lost” in romance

Matthew Bean

Only three women have ever been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. Italian director Lina Wertmuller for 1975’s “Seven Beauties” and New Zealand director Jane Campion for 1993’s “The Piano” are two. The third in this elite category is Sofia Coppola. She is the first American woman to earn a Best Director Academy Award nomination, thanks to her second feature film, “Lost in Translation.”

There is much to love about this 2003 film, which has received critical acclaim and countless four-star reviews. The serio-comedic narrative focuses on two strangers – both Americans in a foreign land – and the unexpected bonds they make that change their lives forever. The cinematography is wonderful, with Tokyo providing a magnificent backdrop for their liaison. Then of course there is the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson and the comedic genius of Bill Murray (whom I’m happy to see is getting back in the spotlight lately) as the two major players.

“Lost in Translation” features Bill Murray (in a role Coppola wrote specifically for him) as Bob, an actor in his autumn years, currently in Tokyo to star in a commercial. Bob is trapped in a world he doesn’t completely understand or enjoy. While there, Bob meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a young newlywed who has accompanied her husband, a photographer, on a photo shoot. However, most of the time her husband (Giovanni Ribisi) is too busy to spend time with her, leaving Charlotte on her own. Thus, Bob and Charlotte, both lost, find each other.

Coppola has admitted that the original screenplay, for which she won an Oscar, is semi-autobiographical. For example, Bob is in Japan to star in a commercial for Suntory whiskey, which resembles a commercial Francis Ford Coppola (Sofia’s father) made in the ’70s. And rumor has it that Charlotte’s photographer husband is based on Coppola’s own ex-husband, director Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”).

The sixth feature in this semester’s Cultural Film & Lecture Series, “Lost In Translation” will be playing in the Connelly Cinema from Oct. 29 through the 31. Show times are 7 p.m. on Saturday, 3:30 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, and 7 p.m. on Monday. Tickets are $3.50 for students and $5 for all others. CFS director John O’Leary will appear at the Monday evening show, where he will provide an introduction and lead a discussion following the viewing period.

For more information, call X 9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS web page.