Recently my wife an I found out that we are able to take a trip to Japan this year. I’m really excited, and of course me being me, I’ve started planning what Japanese related movies I will watch in preparation for our trip.

The first two movies that came to mind were Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Both are fantastic movies for different reasons. Lost in Translation actually took me a little extra thought to grasp what the movie made me feel.

At first, I was viewing the whole movie from Bill Murray’s character, Bob’s, point of view. This is a fine way to view it, but it misses a lot of what I think is a main point of the movie. Because I am male, I automatically tried to identify with the male protagonist. What I failed to see from the first viewing was that Scarlet Johansson’s character, Charlotte, was giving me as much as Bob. Actually, I think we get to peer into her character moreso.

It’s interesting to look at the two movie posters for Lost in Translation. They both have the tagline “Everyone wants to be found,” but the one I saw in America and the one of the cover of my US version of the DVD is the Bill Murray picture. Most likely Hollywood was trying to bank on his performance and name recognition to get the average Caddy Shack fan to give the movie a chance. However, if I had seen the Scarlett Johansson poster, I think I would have picked up on her character a lot sooner. Way to go Hollywood.

The line in the movie that made me start to see things from the female perspective, and is one of my favorite lines in the movie is when Charlotte says, “I tried taking pictures, but they were so mediocre. I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses…taking pictures of your feet.”

I could never have written that line because I’ve never experienced that, but I have a lot of female friends who can identify with that statement.

This movie helped open my eyes to really see that the movie industry was really missing out by not having more female filmmakers. Sofia Coppola may not be the greatest, though I think she’s pretty darn good, but there is so much untapped potential out there. Not every movie needs to be thought up by a man.

Yes, I whole-heartedly believe that good ideas and good stories can come from anybody, male or female, but I also know that female experiences and social upbringing can be much different than us guys. At this point I’m rambling, but you get the idea. More movies by women.

Back to the Japan conversation. I checked out Akira Kurosawa’s Ran and Yojimbo from the library, and I plan to rewatch Lost in Translaton and Seven Samurai. I’m assuming I’ll throw Kill Bill in there just because. But what other movies would your recommend I see in preparation for a trip to Japan?

Spirited AwayTokyo StoryRashomonThe Bridge Over the River KwaiThe Last EmperorLetter From Iwo JimaPrincess Mononoke?

Just let me know.

Oh, and the comic might have a Japanese lean to it for the next few weeks? We’ll see 🙂