Navigating the Global- Lost in Translation
The 21st century term, globalization, conceptualizes the contemporary breakdown of traditional barriers and structures between cultural paradigms, culminating in an increasingly interconnected and complex global environment. Manfred Stager, REMIT Professor of Global Studies, describes this trend as the “increasing desalination of conventional parameters within which individuals imagine their communal existence”. Focusing on the redefinition of cultural and physical boundaries, the quote theorizes the complex and Indeterminate nature of an Interconnected world, and as a result. E uncertainty experienced by Individuals who attempt to navigate it. Sophie Copula’s “Lost in Translation” (2003) comments on agglutination’s progressive development toward cultural uniformity, utilizing Tokyo to exhibit habitations of Western and Japanese cultures. Similarly, Witt limeade’s “The Whale” explores the invasion of global forces into Maori culture, depicting the increasing stratifications of traditional values and their eventual submergence by the dominant Western Influence.
Both texts explore the conflict between global and local, as well as the need to adapt for individuals to form meaningful connections ND a sense of self-identity. The conflict between local and global forces is the underlying message of “Lost”, focusing on the Journey of Bob and Charlotte as they attempt to navigate the cultural uncertainty of Tokyo. Copula capitalizes on Tokyo modern Identity of a technically- advanced hybrid city, using It as a synecdoche for the spread of global Influences, namely Westernizes and the increasing prevalence of technology.
The film commences with a taxi ride through the urban centre of Tokyo, featuring an advertisement of the protagonist, Bob, an American movie star, surrounded by Japanese signs and banners. The inclusion of intense neon-lighting is juxtaposed by camera close-ups of Japanese characters, serving to highlight the combination of the traditional and modern-day, specifically the global pressure toward technology. The Increasing Influence of western culture Is shown by Bob’s advertisement being dominating over its Japanese counterparts through the use of camera framing, central placement and MIS en scene.
The paradoxical use of an American actor to advertise a Japanese whisky also comments on the decline of Japanese culture, instead replaced by preference of global westernizes images and influences. Despite the physical location of Japan, Copula emphases the deterioration of Japanese culture when faced by globalization and therefore, the conflict between the local and global. In “The Whale”, Witt Alhambra similarly explores the conflict between local and global, namely the extension of Westernizes and as a consequence, the dissolution of Maori culture.
The short story characterizes a Maori elder as he struggles to preserve his native heritage and tradition, stating “[The others] felt the pull of the Apache Maori word “Apache”, meaning white man, both emphasis the increasing influence of Western culture, in correspondence with the ideas explored in “Lost”. This is paralleled by the motif of the meeting house, representative of the Maori culture, “The outtake work is pitted with cigarette burns… A name has been chipped into a carved panel”, depicting not only the physical defacement of the temple but also the cultural deterioration of the Maori.
As explored in “Lost”, the final line, “the whale lifts a fluke of its giant tail to beat the air with its dying agony’, metaphorically alludes to he inevitable nature of global hybrid and destruction of cultural diversity, epitomizing the conflict between local and global. In “Lost”, the increasingly complex global environment is explored through Bob and Charlotte cultural displacement, which they are able to overcome through emotional connections.
Attracted to each other by their cultural similarities and local origins, Bob and Charlotte form a relationship based on mutual loneliness and uneasiness within Japan’s unfamiliar surroundings, emphasized in a medium shot of Bob and Charlotte fidgeting in a hotel elevator, in Juxtaposition to the motionless Japanese tarots. Evident in the close-up take of Charlotte leaning on Bob’s shoulder in a karaoke bar, their emotional bond enables them to adapt and find connections to Japan’s fast-paced global culture with greater confidence.
Illustrated through wide- shot tinged with a neutral palette, Charlotte blends indistinguishably among the Japanese crowd in the busy Tokyo street, and Bob’s final Journey to Tokyo airport is captured by a hand-held camera panning across Tokyo urban skyline, symbolizing their renewed sense of acceptance and self-identity within the global landscape. Hence, in Lost in Translation, Copula emphasizes the need for individuals to adapt to the global influences shaping our world, and to realize our own existence and individuality beyond cultural paradigms.
This concept is similarly explored in “The Whale”, however, in contrast to “Lost”, the inability to adapt to global influences leads to further cultural displacement and isolation. The protagonist’s retreat from the cultural influences of globalization is illustrated in the melancholy tone of “Better to die than to see this changing world. He is too old for it. He is stranded here”, revealing his feelings of alienation within an increasingly westernizes world.
His cultural isolation is explored repeatedly through the use of exclusion pronouns, writing “They wave at him, and beckon him to Join them. He turns away’, again metaphorically showing his rejection of globalization and instead choosing to solely clinging to his traditional beliefs. The desertion by his people for the popularized western society alongside his inability to adapt catalyst the emotional impact of his cultural, epitomized by the bleak statement “He will be glad to die”. Unlike “Lost”, the protagonist is