"As if you are Bogie in "Casablanca,"

Film Ebert's rather beautiful review of Lost In Translation directs us to seek out a translation of the Suntory Scene. Finally I have and he's quite correct, "there's nothing implausible about the scene":
"Mr. Bob-san. You are sitting quietly in your study. And then
there is a bottle of Suntory whiskey on top of the table. You
understand, right? With wholehearted feeling, slowly, look at the
camera, tenderly, and as if you are meeting old friends, say the
words. As if you are Bogie in "Casablanca," saying, "Cheers to you
guys," Suntory time! "
Something which has always annoyed me about the reaction to Coppola's film, sometimes from professional reviews who should know better, are the charges of casual racism, that the Japanese characters are stereotyped for simple comic effect.

What they miss is that if the likes of the prostitute are stereotyped, its because the director is capturing the process all visitors to another place follow. What we're being offered is Tokyo filtered through the perceptions of Murray and Johansson's characters, the simplification developed in memory and attitude after the fact.

In other words, the joke's on us.

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