Friday 10 February 2023

Book Review: Lost in Translation by Suzanne Ferriss (Non-Fiction/Film Studies)

Title: Lost in Translation
Author: Suzanne Ferriss
Publisher: British Film Institute
Publication Date: 9 March 2023
Pages: 112
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction/Film Studies
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003) brings two Americans together in Tokyo, each experiencing a personal crisis. Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a recent graduate in philosophy, faces an uncertain professional future, while Bob Harris (Bill Murray), an established celebrity, questions his choices at midlife. Both are distant - emotionally and spatially - from their spouses. They are lost until they develop an intimate connection. In the film's poignant, famously ambiguous closing scene, they find each other, only to separate.

In this close look at the multi-award-winning film, Suzanne Ferriss mirrors
Lost in Translation's structuring device of travel: her analysis takes the form of a trip, from planning to departure. She details the complexities of filming (a 27-day shoot with no permits in Tokyo), explores Coppola's allusions to fine art, subtle colour palette and use of music over words, and examines the characters' experiences of the Park Hyatt Tokyo and excursions outside, together and alone. She also re-evaluates the film in relation to Coppola's other features, as the product of an established director with a distinctive cinematic signature: 'Coppolism'. Fundamentally, Ferriss argues that Lost in Translation is not only a cinema classic, but classic Coppola too.


Lost in Translation is one of my favourite movies, and in this volume Suzanne Ferriss offers a wonderful exploration of the film, which incorporates behind-the-scenes stories with a detailed analysis of different key moments, the use of colour and music and where the film sits within Coppola's collection of works. It was a short and quick read but packed full of fascinating information. It's definitely worth a read if, like me, you adore this movie and are interested in a deeper analysis of it as a text. I am giving the book 4.5 stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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