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an international and interdisciplinary journal of postmodern cultural sound, text and image

 Volume 14, Summer 2017, ISSN 1552-5112



Postmodern Dislocation in “Lost in Translation”



Paula Murphy






Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003) won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. This paper will probe its categorisation as both an indie movie and a romantic comedy, and assess the critical commentary on the film that has focused on issues of gender and ethnicity. It will argue that criticism dedicated to genre, gender, ethnicity may elide the film’s postmodern aesthetic, in which these constructs are consistently elusive.

The title of the film, ‘Lost in Translation’ relates most obviously to the experience of the two central characters, Charlotte and Bob, as two Americans spending a few days in Tokyo, and the difficulties of cross-cultural communication that they experience. A second interpretation of the film’s title may relate to the relationship between the two, which often shows the potential to turn into a romance or a sexual relationship but which does not, and is ‘lost in translation’ in  this  sense. The lack of rootedness that both characters experience is a traditional set-up for a romantic comedy, and there is an expectation that each will ultimately find a sense of ‘belonging’ in the other. However, the film does not close off the characters’ sense of being lost at the end of the film, allowing it to remain unresolved, and in relation to this state of being, this essay argues for a third interpretation of the title, as a description of a typically postmodern state.

Bob Harris is a middle-aged actor, who has come to Tokyo to front an advertising campaign for whiskey.  The film evokes the sense that he is embarrassed about his work in the city. When he is recognised in the hotel bar by two young men who ask him why he is there, he responds that he is visiting friends. During the scenes in which he is being photographed and filmed for the campaign, he appears to be quite discomfited about the fact that this is not ‘real’ work, not ‘real’ acting. The film plays on the relationship between the real and the hyperreal throughout. As Baudrillard states, in postmodern culture, ‘It is no longer a question of imitation, nor of reduplication, nor even of parody. It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself’ (2001, 170). During one scene in which Bob is filming an advertisement, he is asked to mimic the postures and facial expressions of members of the rat pack, which he does with comic irony. The situation highlights the common understanding of cultural symbols like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra in the postmodern world. In this scene, Bob is a performer mimicking the gestures of other performers. He becomes part of ‘a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal’ (2001, 169). He is participating in a culture in which the reality that his gestures refer to grows increasingly distant and irrelevant.

Another aspect of this playing with the real is the film’s use of its actors’ stardom. Bill Murray is a middle-aged actor playing a middle-aged actor. The screenplay was written with him in mind, and the character that he plays segues to a certain extent with his own career which was also in a transitory phase at this time. Murray had gone from being a comedic actor playing similar drily comic characters in films like Ivan Reitman’s Stripes (1981) and Ghostbusters (1984), to being a more serious (though still comedic) actor in films like Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day (1993) and Wes Anderson’s Rushmore (1998), which moved him towards the indie side of the filmmaking spectrum.  As Geoff King notes, Murray’s career follows ‘a general movement “up” the cultural hierarchy, as underlined by the accompanying shift from the mainstream/Hollywood to the more ‘select’ indie or Indiewood sectors’ (2010, 33).  The film also subtly picks up on the extra-diegetic star quality of Scarlett Johansson through the similarity between her name and her character’s name: Scarlett and Charlotte, underscoring the postmodernist tone of the film. 

Bob later reveals to Charlotte that the motivation behind his participation in the advertising campaign is economic. Bob has a wife and family in the United States, and his marriage appears to be unfulfilling. During their first meeting in the bar, Charlotte asks Bob what he is doing in Tokyo and his response is revealingly honest: ‘Taking a break from my wife, forgetting my son’s birthday and getting paid 2 million dollars to endorse a whiskey when I could be doing a play somewhere’.  This meeting is the first significant communication that takes place in the film, including between Charlotte and her husband, giving a special status to the relationship between Charlotte and Bob.

Bob’s wife interjects some mundane domesticity into the surrealism of his stay at several points during the film, faxing him plans of a study that is being remodeled, and ‘Fedexing’ him fabric samples. Their conversations on the phone reveal that his children miss him but are accustomed to him being away, which seems to heighten his feelings of distance from his family life. Bob appears to be a welcome addition in his home, but not necessary to the normal or happy functioning of its domestic world. During one of his telephone calls home, there is a moment when he tries to articulate his emotions to his wife, confessing ‘I’m completely lost’. He struggles to put words on his mental state beyond this, elaborating only by saying that he wants to get healthy and take care of himself. Even though Bob’s sense of exile in this foreign city is foregrounded, his interactions with his wife at home show that his alienation is existential, not geographical.

Bob has been married for 25 years and Charlotte for just 2. She is an unemployed philosophy graduate who has come to Tokyo with her music producer husband, John. She is alone in the hotel for long periods while her husband is working. The film suggests that Charlotte and her husband may be incompatible. He is associated with pop culture and she with intellectual elitism. This is made clear when they meet a woman called Kelly in the hotel, who is there to promote her role in an action movie. She is carefully groomed, her personality is extroverted, and her conversation revolves around trivial matters, in comparison to Charlotte’s slightly scruffy appearance and quiet, serious demeanour. John is drawn to Kelly and after the three meet in the lobby, he chastises Charlotte for judging her as superficial and dim: ‘why do you have to point out how stupid everybody is all of the time?’ When Charlotte is with John and his friends in the bar, the camera shows her slightly apart from the group and not fully engaged in the conversation, her gaze and her attention straying. Like Bob, Charlotte has a moment on the telephone when she tries to articulate her ennui, stating that she doesn’t know who she married. The unnamed person on the other end is too busy to pay attention to the import of Charlotte’s words and she is left to mull over her situation alone.  In a somewhat over-determined way, Charlotte is also seen listening to a CD entitled ‘A Soul’s Search’, which asks ‘Did you ever wonder what your purpose in life is?’

The central characters’ experience of being alienated as foreigners in Tokyo reflects their inner senses of being unmoored. The experience draws them together, as each recognises a likeness in the other, and their relationship provides a temporary anchoring point for both; two strangers in a strange city.  The presentation of Tokyo and the Japanese has been the subject of much criticism of the film. The shiny, metropolitan Tokyo is given prominence in Bob’s taxi ride to and from the airport, which opens and closes the film. In these sequences, there are endless skyscrapers, neon signs, bustling hotels, shops and restaurants, all connoting a modern capitalist city. The city looks impressive, but not particularly distinctive.  As Homay King notes, in the film’s representation of Tokyo, ‘an authentic essence can never be fully distinguished from the barrage of signifiers that are slathered onto it’ (2005, 48).  Bob has travelled a great distance from the United States to Tokyo but the cityscape he finds is ubiquitous, and sometimes bizzarely so, such as when on his taxi drive from the airport he sees himself on an advertising billboard. This metropolitan Tokyo is also highlighted throughout the film by the many impressive views we see from Bob and Charlotte’s hotel windows. The characters are often literally framed by this cityscape in the film.  For example, there is an unusual shot of Charlotte sitting in her hotel window in which the camera detaches from her as subject and moves away and out into the cityscape itself, perhaps visualising her sense of inconsequentiality, which is intensified by this quintessentially postmodern space. The characters are also framed and defined by the sameness of its consumer-driven culture, in which they seek to experience, find or create an ‘authentic’ experience: whether that is as a tourist or as a romantic or sexual partner.

The hotel that Charlotte and Bob stay in further exemplifies this sameness. It is obviously upmarket and there is a suggestion that affluence and luxury further inhibit the creation of a strong sense of place. The sleek, modern bar with its American lounge singer attests to little of its geographical location. The chic, comfortable décor of the bedrooms; the carefully created quietude of the leisure centre, all ensure that it could be a luxury hotel anywhere in the world. When Charlotte and Bob ‘escape’ the hotel, the city that greets them is at times sophisticated, such as when we see them dining out in restaurants, at times seedy, like when they inadvertently enter a strip club, and at times stereotypical, like the shots of pachinko parlours and the scenes of late night karaoke in a high-rise Japanese apartment.

The film often makes use of Bob’s lack of knowledge of the Japanese language and culture for comic effect, when important meanings and instructions appear to be literally lost in translation. This can be seen in the ‘Suntory Time’ sequence, in which Bob is filming a television advertisement and the director gives him lengthy and expressive instructions, which are conveyed with puzzling brevity by the interpreter: ‘Is that everything?’, asks Bob, ‘It seemed like he said quite a bit more than that’. The potential for misunderstanding is used for comedic effect again when an erotically attired Japanese woman appears in Bob’s hotel room, and repeatedly urges him to ‘lip [rip] my stockings’.  When Bob arrives at the hotel, he appears bemused by the welcome he receives and the smiling, gift-bearing Japanese who greet him; his comparative tallness and general difference is highlighted in scenes in the lift and in the shower that is too small for him.  Homay King criticises the film because in these scenes ‘it is the greeter, not he, who looks ridiculous, it is the dancer who is overly salacious’ (2005, 46).  The focus of such scenes is on Bob, on his embarrassment and his bewilderment: these scenes allow us to sympathise with his perspective. But for King, the film fails to ‘sufficiently clarify that its real subject is not Tokyo itself, but Western perceptions of Tokyo’ (2005, 45)

The film shows an alternative facet of Tokyo’s landscape through Charlotte’s character. Long days alone allow her time to explore Tokyo and its surroundings. She takes the bullet train to Kyoto, observes traditional Japanese architecture and flora, and sees a traditional Japanese wedding party. These sequences are unnarrated and so it is unclear what impact the experiences have on Charlotte. The camera emphasises her loneliness and her continuing alienation. She is framed to one side of the wedding party who are centred in the shot and there several long shots in this sequence in which she appears small and isolated against the beautiful Japanese backdrop that she inhabits. Charlotte’s contemplations during these excursions remain mysterious but her status as a tourist, and consequently of the Japanese buildings and landscape as tourist commodities, is apparent. There is a sense about all of the film’s settings that they are aspects of Japan or Tokyo that are entirely typical, that they could form part of any tourist’s ‘must-see’ list, and that any attempt to find something ‘authentic’ or ‘real’ beyond these iconographic sights is futile.

The film does not allow us to get to know any of the Japanese characters in depth, and in terms of the story and the largely tourist experience of Japan that is being portrayed, it is more about the USA, or more broadly, the West, than it is about Japan. This is not necessarily because the film is careless or stereotypical in its representation of Japan and the Japanese, although that is sometimes the case. The film explores the postmodern culture of the West as a state of mind, in a way that exceeds geographical location or renders it irrelevant. Gerry Coulter has observed the connection between Barthes and Baudrillard in relation to emptiness and identity: ‘In the deeply radical amalgam that is poststructuralism, the Barthes-Baudrillard embrace of emptiness (which I take to be a liberating gesture in the thought of both), made significant contributions to five concepts: writing; language, meaning, truth, and the real. These concepts, to which Baudrillard adds reversibility, allow us to divest ourselves of the urge to grant a privileged position to the author and similarly the condition under which any of us seek a fixed identity’ (Coulter, 2016). Barthes’ Empire of Signs demonstrates the ‘embrace of emptiness’ and the destabilisation of meanings and identities his work shares with the writings of Baudrillard. In Empire of Signs, Barthes discusses his experience of Japan rather than Japan itself. He writes that Japan ‘has afforded him a situation of writing’ (1992, 4). Japan arguably becomes objectified by this activity in a similar manner to how it appears in the film. In both Barthes’ text and in Lost in Translation, Japan is an object that allows consideration of the subject, the I, of postmodernity, and an exploration of how this subject has become destabilised by the loss of meaning that can be read in what Barthes describes as ‘the retreat of signs’ (Barthes, 1992, xi)

The film depicts characters that are trying to find meaning and authenticity in their visit to Japan or with each other, and at the level of genre, that same striving for authenticity is present. Lost in Translation is an ‘indie’ film, which in American terms, originally meant economic independence from the major film companies like Paramount, Disney, Universal and Fox. In the early 1990s, the term indie was popularised, not just in relation to cinema but a variety of consumer products. After this popularisation, the term ‘indie’ didn’t necessary connote economic independence but it did still retain the associations with alternative, creative, small-scale and artistic.

The term ‘Indie’ also connotes a certain value system. On the surface, this value system is relatively straightforward. An indie film prioritises art over money; it does not appeal to mass audiences (although there have been some very successful ‘crossover’ films, like this one); it does not have a large budget.  But the reality is a little more complex.  Michael Newman discusses the paradox at the centre of indie culture: ‘indieness’ is presented as alternative and autonomous, but is ‘a form of expression that is itself commercial and that also serves to promote the interests of a class of sophisticated consumers’ (2009, 17). The term ‘Indiewood’ is used to connote this new type of post-1990s film in which the lines between independent art cinema and Hollywood cinema are blurred.  The positioning of Lost in Translation as an Indiewood production, and the compromise that this entails between consumerism and autonomous artistry, reflects a central message of the film about postmodern culture in general, and its absence of meaning.

The ‘indie’ identity of the film is at odds with the fact that it is also a romantic comedy, a genre not always considered artistically meritorious because of its traditional appeal to mass audiences and its sometimes formulaic plot structure. On the other hand, genre films like romantic comedies appeal to a generation of audience goers who are quite knowledgeable, and who are aware of the conventions of genre films. They seek the familiar – they watch a rom-com because they want a certain kind of experience - but they also need to be stimulated, and the film needs to offer something new if it is to be entertaining. Genre fiction has to create a balance between familiar conventions and creating something different each time. As Claire Mortimer states, ‘the essence of the genre is the fundamental recipe of repetition and difference’ (2010, 2)

Lost in Translation deliberately plays with the conventions of romantic comedy in a way that arguably exceeds the limits of the genre rather than simply creating distinctiveness within its parameters. The narrative has a roughly tripartite structure. In the first part, each of the two characters is introduced individually, and a series of parallels and juxtapositions set up the expectation that they will meet and establish a relationship. For example, shots of Charlotte tossing and turning in her bedroom or flicking through channels are followed by shots of Bob doing the same thing. In the second part of the film, after their initial meeting in the bar, their relationship develops into a friendship with the suggested potential for a romance. In the third part, after Bob has spent the night with the lounge singer, the film moves towards its tentative conclusion. Within this traditional overarching ‘boy-meets-girl’ structure, other narrative elements also suggest a romantic comedy. For example, their relationship begins with a night out in Tokyo, which is presented as an ‘escape’ from the stultifying dullness of the hotel. It is traditional in romantic comedies for the protagonists to get to know each other in such a sequence of escape from everyday routines.  These various indices of the rom-com genre lead the audience to expect that the characters will eventually consummate their relationship and there are suggestions that sexual tension exists. For example, when Bob comes to Charlotte’s room to collect her for their night out, Charlotte’s expression indicates a moment of awkwardness when Bob takes off his t-shirt in her bathroom. We are unsure if this is because she is attracted to him, or because she is not and fears he may have the wrong impression.

When they arrive back to the hotel after their night out in Tokyo, Bob carries Charlotte up to her room and puts her into bed.  She sleeps soundly, for the first time since she arrived in Tokyo, perhaps indicating that she has found temporary release from her introspection, or some form of contentment, in the company of Bob. The camera focuses on his expression as he walks down the corridor after he has left her, which is ambiguous: there may be fondness, wistfulness, perhaps even regret present.  In another cue for an impending romance, Bob presents her with a soft toy. But even within this clichéd symbol of romance, there is an ambiguity. The soft toy is an owl, perhaps suggestive of wisdom that Bob may provide for her in a paternal rather than romantic way.

In between these narrative markers that indicate a traditional romantic comedy, there are several sequences that show the protagonists alone, engaged in activities that have nothing to do with their relationship, at least narratively - for example, Charlotte’s trip to Kyoto. We see Bob in a comic scene in the hotel gym, in which he falls prey to a runaway treadmill, and sequences in which he poses for photographs and films an advertisement, which give the film an episodic quality that runs counter to its overarching narrative structure. As Geoff King notes, ‘Bob and Charlotte continue to occupy their own, sometimes separate spaces even towards the end of the film’ (2010, 79). Consequently, the characters retain autonomy. Their actions are not solely in the service of the romantic plot.

About two-thirds of the way through the film is a scene in which the emotional intimacy of Charlotte and Bob is at its height. Charlotte says ‘let’s never come here again because it would never be as much fun’. It is unclear whether Charlotte is expressing a genuine sentiment or being sarcastic. Her intention is left ambiguous to him and to the audience. A tender conversation follows in which they remember their first impressions of each other. This reflection on how their relationship has progressed is a signal that they may be about to move in a new direction. But instead a candid conversation takes place in which Charlotte seeks advice from Bob, and he responds in an almost fatherly way. ‘I’m stuck’, she says. ‘Does it get easier?’ ‘No’, he replies, then, ‘Yes. It gets easier’. ‘I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be’, she confides.  When she asks him about marriage his answers are revealing. He describes how he and his wife used to have fun but how ‘It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids. Your life as you know it is over’. During the conversation the camera is above the bed, showing their postures. Bob is lying on his back and Charlotte is lying on her side with her knees up and her foot pressed against his leg. Her posture is self-protective perhaps, but the fact that she is touching him may be read as an invitation. Bob rests his hand on her foot but does not turn to look at her, perhaps because he is practising self-restraint. After all the indices of romance that the audience have been given, there is suspense in this scene as we wait to see if the relationship will become a sexual one. It does not.

The following night, after his botched attempt to articulate his malaise to his wife on the telephone, Bob spends the night with the lounge singer from the hotel bar. This episode is presented to the audience in shorthand, with the singer introducing herself to him in the bar and a shot of two glasses of champagne on the windowsill of his room the following morning. Their sexual tryst is given little significance in the film. The focus is on Charlotte’s reaction when she appears at Bob’s door the following morning and realises that there is a woman inside.  ‘Well she is closer to your age’, she later states.  Her words imply that she believed that Bob was attracted to her. Her hurt reaction also suggests that his interest in her may have been reciprocated.

The third part of the film consists of a protracted goodbye between the protagonists. They go out to lunch during which their body language is defensive and their conversation stilted. During a fire alarm at the hotel they seek each other out, make amends and hold hands in the bar, staring into each other’s eyes as Bob confesses he does not want to go home. The following day, he rings her from the lobby, asking for his jacket, an obvious pretext for seeing her again. When she arrives, there follows an awkward attempt at saying goodbye punctuated by silences.  As his taxi drives through the Tokyo streets, he sees her in the crowd. This is an archetypal romantic comedy scene, which King describes as ‘a classic transformative romantic comedy moment, the cue usually for a last-minute all-out declaration of love and the imposition of romantic closure’ (2010, 66). The audience fully anticipate a dramatic reunion, having had delay after delay in gratification. He stops the taxi and runs after her and catches her. He rubs her hair and kisses her lips and cheeks and says something to her that cannot be heard by the viewer. When they part and he gets back into the taxi, he says ‘alright’, as if there has been a resolution that he is satisfied with, but which, significantly, is withheld from the audience.

The film plays with the conventions of that romantic comedy, sets up expectations for the viewers, and consistently disappoints them. Perhaps the film ultimately privileges friendship over a sexual relationship, or perhaps the ending simply evades resolution in rendering mute those final critically important words that pass between the couple. The final sequence of Bob leaving Tokyo in the taxi, with the camera looking upwards at the neon lights and skyscrapers, mirrors his entrance to the city, providing a circularity and conclusiveness visually which is absent narratively.

It is possible to see this film as an enlightened depiction of a relationship between an older man and a younger woman in which the younger woman is not reduced to being a sexual object. Their relationship is not consummated, she gains his respect and admiration, and in terms of the story, she is not completely subject to the romantic plot. But, the ambiguous ending of the relationship between the two characters is problematic when trying to interpret the film as in any way feminist. Physically, Bob has come to Charlotte in the film and at the end of the film, he goes from her. It is his experience that is given priority; his sense of closure that is presented to the audience at the end. We are not given any indication of how Charlotte feels at the end of the film. Moreover, although she does not become Bob’s sexual partner, critics have argued that the film does objectify her in numerous ways. For example, the film opens with a prolonged close-up of Charlotte’s bottom clothed in opaque underwear, which does not appear to be necessary to the introduction of the character, the scene, or the story. During their night out in Tokyo when they sing karaoke at a house party, Bob sings to her a heartfelt rendition of Roxy Music’s ‘More than This’: ‘I could feel at the time/ There was no way of knowing/ Fallen leaves in the night/ Who can say where they’re blowing’. It conjures up the unexpected nature of falling in love, and the existential power of the present moment. His sideways look at Charlotte as he sings suggests the possibility that the sentiments are pertinent to how he feels about her.  Charlotte sings The Pretender’s song ‘Brass in Pocket’, which in contrast to the romantic sentiments of Bob’s song is quite overtly sexual: ‘gonna use my arms, gonna use my legs/ gonna use my style, gonna use my side step/ gonna use my fingers, gonna use my, my, my imagination’. It is a song about a woman who is trying to use her sexuality to catch a man’s attention. In terms of sexuality and gender, the film both challenges and subverts convention.  The film’s depiction of Japan is similarly mixed. It does seem to try to do justice to the mixture of modern cultural diversity and strong tradition in Japan, but at times, perhaps inevitably, presents visual and cultural clichés, and is US-centric in its perspective.

Rather than interpreting this film from the perspectives of gender, genre, and ethnicity, the film might more profitably be understood as a reflection on postmodern existence. The postmodern world is filtered through cultural clichés, which is true of the representation of Tokyo in the film - neon lights and ancient temples and giant skyscrapers. Such cultural clichés have an almost universal currency in the postmodern world, as Bob witnesses when he is asked to channel Hollywood icons into his advertisement for whiskey: Roger Moore, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin. But these clichés and icons are no more than facades. Clichéd images of Japan corroborate impressions the viewer may already have rather than fostering new perspectives. And the more Bob tries to mimic the iconic men of the rat pack, the closer he tries to get to the assured masculinity they represent, the further away it seems.

The same idea about the repetition of stereotypes can be related to indie cinema itself. Despite the fact that it is defined in opposition to mainstream Hollywood culture, some indie films are marketed to a privileged, educated, liberal audience, and indie cinema itself can be seen as ultimately just another product of Hollywood; a niche product that responds to a niche audience demand. Any attempt to get away from postmodern simulation and to find that which is ‘authentic’ or ‘real’ inevitably leads back to the mass-market fueled, media-saturated hyperreal. 

The existential crises of Bob and Charlotte reach a critical point Tokyo perhaps because this quintessentially postmodern city stirs the realisation that the self itself is dislocated, and cannot be ‘found’ in any physical place. In The Postmodern Condition, Jean Francois Lyotard anticipates the state of affairs in which ‘the old poles of attraction represented by nation-states, parties, profession, institutions, and historical traditions are losing their attraction’ (1984, 14). The self cannot be located and defined in these traditional ways any longer.   Lyotard observes that ‘A self does not amount to much, but no self is an island; each exists in a fabric of relations that is now more complex and mobile than ever before’ (15). A self can only be located fleetingly: ‘a person is always located at “nodal points” of specific communication circuits, however tiny these may be”.  The sense that the ‘real self’ of either character can be found on the other side of an aeroplane ride becomes unsettlingly uncertain in Lost in Translation. The self cannot be found in the Tokyo neon, or in the religious temple, or at home in America. The seemingly temporary dislocation that both characters experience becomes symptomatic of the dislocated self in postmodern culture as a whole.

Modernist nostalgia is typically contrasted with postmodernist enjoyment (Plotnitsky 2001, 273): do these characters revel in their dislocated, transient rather than yearning for stability? In Lost in Translation, both characters, but particularly Charlotte, seem to be searching for a source of authentic meaning, which neither of them finds. In the end, the film does not show the audience, Charlotte having found her calling in life, or Bob embarking on a poorly-paid but aesthetically fulfilling role in an off-Broadway play. It may be going too far to suggest that they exhibit a sense of enjoyment in the intangible multiplicities of meaning in the postmodern world, but certainly they seem to come to a more peaceful acceptance of them.

For Lyotard, the self is a shifting, mutable entity. He states that each ‘self’ is situated at a ‘post through which messages pass’ (Lyotard 1984, 15). In Lyotard’s description, it is the message that is active, not the self. That the self is located, albeit briefly, through this communication circuit, is only a by-product of the message. The film’s penultimate scene in which Bob whispers the inaudible words into Charlotte’s ear is a ‘nodal point’ of communication at which two selves are fleetingly located. But this connection and the selves that it momentarily pinpoints are ephemeral. Perhaps this is why the film refuses closure in terms of Charlotte and Bob’s relationship or their future paths as individuals. This inaudible message, which might have answered those questions, is lost for the viewers, and the film suggests that it is ultimately the self that becomes lost in translation, in the elusive signifying systems of postmodern culture.




an international and interdisciplinary journal of postmodern cultural sound, text and image

 Volume 14, Summer 2017, ISSN 1552-5112




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Lyotard, Jean-Francois. 1984. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Manchester: University of Manchester Press.

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Newman, Michael Z. 2009. ‘Indie Culture: In Pursuit of the Authentic Autonomous Narrative’. Cinema Journal. 48.3. pp. 16-34.

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