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					               Lost in Translation Movie Options*


                                               India
Salaam Bombay
“Mira Nair's first feature was an acclaimed drama depicting the desperate lives of homeless children in one of India's
poorest cities. Krishna is a 10-year-old country boy forced to live on his own in the streets of Bombay after his family
tosses him out. While he hopes to earn 500 rupees for his mother and return home, the all-consuming job of staying
alive quickly makes that dream an unreality. He develops the street-smarts needed to survive in the seedy world of
prostitutes, drug addicts, thieves, and other homeless children, but the harrowing experience takes an extremely heavy
emotional toll on him.”

Lagaan
“Considered to be a modern classic of Indian cinema, Lagaan is a musical drama which tells the story of a central
Indian farming village in 1893. The village waits for the monsoons to come and rain on its crops, but the ground
remains dry and infertile. Meanwhile, British ruler Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne) demands lagaan--or double
normal taxes--from the villagers. When it becomes clear that they can't pay, Russell challenges the villagers to a game
of cricket, a game they know nothing about. Teaching the villagers about the game falls on the shoulders of farmer
Bhuvan (Aamir Khan). As they begin to learn, the villagers are inspired to go up against Russell, with tax negotiation as
the stakes for the game.”

I Have Found It (Kandukondain Kandukondain)
 “Sense and sensibility are not the only things that meet and mix in this Bollywood adaptation of Austen's classic novel.
When East meets West, and audiences meet the two charming sisters at the heart of its tale, there is no end to the fun,
adventure, and romance. Sowmya and Meenakshi have it all: looks, money, and youth. The only thing they lack is the
true love they both yearn for. This situation is soon remedied when three suitors, each attractive in very different ways,
are introduced into their lives.”




                                              China

Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl
“Between 1967 and 1976, nearly eight million Chinese youths were "sent down" for specialized training to the remotest
corners of the country in order to rid them of any revolutionary thoughts. In 1975, a beautiful city girl of 15, Xiu Xiu, is
taken from her family by the government and sent to the high steppes near Tibet to live with a horse trainer. This, the
directorial debut from actress Joan Chen, was filmed surreptitiously in communist China and subsequently banned in
that country.”



*
  Except where indicated, movie descriptions are from Rotten Tomatoes, an Internet movie website
(http://www.rottentomatoes.com)
Farewell my Concubine
“In Chen Kaige's adaptation of the Lilian Lee novel, Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) and Duan Xiaolou (Fengyi Zhang)
grow up enduring the harsh training of the Peking Opera Academy, where instructors regularly beat the children as a
means of instilling in them the discipline needed to master the complex physical and vocal technique. …Spanning 50
years from the early part of the 20th century to the tumultuous Cultural Revolution, Kaige's passionate, exquisitely
shot film captures the vast historical scope of a changing world (and the mesmerizing pageantry of the opera) while
also providing the intimate and touching details of a unique, tender, heartrending love story.”

Swordsman II
“With an entirely new set of actors, this movie continues the story from Swordsman (1990). Blademaster and his
martial arts school decide to retire to a distant mountain. Before leaving, he visits his friends, a tribe of snake-wielding
women warriors. He finds that they have been attacked, and their leader, Princess Yin-Yin, toward whom he has some
romantic feelings, has been abducted. The attacker is her evil uncle Fong, who years before overthrew Yin-Yin's father
and took over their sect. Fong also has possession of a sacred scroll which tells how to achieve ultimate martial arts
power. Blademaster decides to help Yin-Yin and her imprisoned father, and his romantic complications deepen when
his childhood chum and Yin-Yin are joined by a new rival.”
                                                                        —Film description from Internet Movie Database

Together
“Xiaochun is a 13-year-old violin prodigy who lives with his father, Liu Cheng, in a provincial Chinese city. Shy and
sensitive, Xiaochun doesn’t say much – music is his way of expressing his feelings—but his entire life changes when his
father, wanting the best for him, takes him to live in immense Beijing. Liu Cheng is willing to sacrifice everything so
Xiaochun can audition for a prestigious music school and take lessons that befit his talent.”


To Live
Portrayal of city life in China from the 40’s through 70’s. Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their
personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry. Addicted to gambling, Fugui loses everything. In the
years that follow he is pressed into both the nationalist and communist armies, while Jiazhen is forced into menial
work. They raise a family and survive, managing "to live" from the 40's to the 70's in this epic, but personal, story of life
through an amazing period.
                                                                         —Film description from Internet Movie Database

The Emperor and the Assassin
“In the third century B.C., Ying Zheng (Li Xuejian), the powerful king of Qin province, struggles to unify China and
become the country's first emperor. In an effort to make himself seem untouchable, he sends his lover, Lady Zhao
(Gong Li), to her homeland, Han, to recruit a professional killer who will intentionally botch an assassination attempt
on him. Once in Han, Zhao meets Jing Ke (Fengyi Zhang), an infamous assassin who has given up the sword. Zhao's
plans change after Ying begins ruling with an increasingly brutal hand—and she starts to fall in love with Jing.”




                                              Japan
Gozu
“Minami, a member of the Azamawari crew, highly respects his Aniki (brother) Ozaki who has saved his life in the past.
However, lately Ozaki's eccentricities (like claiming that a Chihuahua hs sees is a 'Yakuza attack dog') have been
making everyone wonder about his sanity. Chairman Azamawari is unsympathetic to Ozaki's little outbursts and
secretly orders Minami to take Ozaki to a disposal facility in the city of Nagoya. There, the fate of these two follows a
twisted path filled with violence, mother's milk, strange locals, and ultimately the disappearance of Ozaki's corpse
which Minami now desperately tries to recover."
                                                                          —Film description from Internet Movie Database
The Bird People in China
“A lyrical, visually stunning work that deviates considerably from Takashi Miike's signature gorefests, Bird People in
China nonetheless explores many of his unifying themes; these include that of outsiders in pursuit of happiness in a
foreign land, and a complex and unlikely relationship, played out this time between a mobster and a quiet
businessman. Wada is a handsome salaryman who works for a jade company interested in mining a recently-
discovered vein that runs through a remote village in China. The company sends Wada to investigate its purity, and en
route he encounters a yakuza intent on securing a share of the company's profits for the mob. Together they set out for
the village, guided by Shen, an old Chinese man whose sense of direction is doubtful.”

Lost in Translation
This is not a Japanese movie; it was written and directed by an American, Sophia Coppola. Many of its themes,
however, relate well to the course content, so it is the only American film on the list.

“Sofia Coppola's second feature-length film focuses on two guests at a Tokyo hotel—Bob (Bill Murray), a middle-aged
actor in town to film whiskey commercials, and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), the young wife of a trendy
photographer (Giovanni Ribisi) who is always out on a shoot. When Bob isn't on the job taking fragmented direction
from the Japanese crew, he's receiving faxes on home decorating from his emotionally distant wife. And while her
husband is away, Charlotte spends most of her time trying to motivate herself to do more than look out the window at
Tokyo's urban sprawl. So when the two meet in the hotel bar, they strike up an unusual friendship, one that provides a
welcome escape from their boredom and loneliness.”

Ikiru
Described by one critic as “A heartbreaking masterwork from Kurosawa with nary a samurai in sight,” Ikiru (“To Live”)
features “Mr. Watanabe, a middle-aged government worker, [who] suddenly finds that he has very little life left when
diagnosed with terminal cancer. Moving from drunken despair to quiet resolve, he vows to make his final days
meaningful.”

				
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posted:12/4/2011
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