Study Guide

Lost in Translation Point of View

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Point of View

Lost in Translation's narrative structure can best be described as the film narrative equivalent of what happens when you let your five-year-old cousin "braid" your hair. If you've never had the pleasure of being "styled" by someone who still gets the crusts cut off their sandwiches, don't worry; we'll explain.

Narratively, you've got Bob's story-strand, and you've got Charlotte's story-strand. Occasionally, they cross and become one single narrative strand, but there's no predictable structure to it. It's messy and unorganized because it happens organically, and then it eventually stops.

Chronologically, the film covers roughly 13 days, but, timeline-wise, we twice go an entire day without seeing what Charlotte's up to. We don't know what she's doing the day Bob arrives in Tokyo; we don’t see her on the day when Bob records his talk show appearance and hooks up with the lead singer of Sausalito. Bob and Charlotte cross paths and make dates, but they also have their own business to attend to, like shooting whiskey commercials and wandering aimlessly around Tokyo.

Ultimately, the two narrative strands separate again, for good this time. Bob goes back to America. Charlotte strolls off into Tokyo once more. It's just like when your five-year-old stylist suddenly abandons your hair because she remembered DuckTales is on: It just stops.

The overall effect mirrors what real life is like. People come in and out of your life; what you remember, you remember in vignettes and pop songs.

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