Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Sophia Coppola Finds Bemani

The new film Lost in Translation, aside from being a very accomplished and entertaining exploration of character, also effectively communicates the filmmaker's love of Tokyo. Director Sophia Coppola has apparently spent a lot of time in Japan (her clothes line Milk Fed has been quite successful there) and gained appreciation of the country's unique people and places. Most germane to readers of this site would be the scene in which Scarlet Johanssen soaks up the atmosphere of a Tokyo video game arcade. The camera lingers on a gamer pounding away on Takio no Tatsujin and another dexterously slapping away on another, fairly generic, bemani game. Finally, Johannsen watches a punky-looking young man (with the requisite cigarette dangling from his mouth) jam on Guitar Freaks. Most American films show brief instances of Japanese arcades or pachinko parlors to simply take advantage of the cacophonous sounds or busy environments. In Lost in Translation the character practically communes with the culture. I can't remember a single instance (besides Tron and Joysticks) in which a film has so lovingly portrayed an arcade.