Fear and Trembling

Has anyone else seen Fear and Trembling? I just watched it with my parents, and … wow.  Two toes up. Stunning acting, which didn’t seem like acting after about 20 minutes into it.  It’s not a kids’ movie, so beware. 

The autobiographical story by Amelie Nothomb is about a Belgian woman who was born in Japan, left Japan when she was 5 years old, and returned as an adult to work for a Japanese company.  Corporate life starts out fairly well and even amusing, as Amelie-san deals with her superiors, but it all quickly turn less then happy.  

Fear and Trembling will remind some of Lost in Translation, but here the viewer doesn’t have to guess as much about what is going on, because the characters clearly explain everything as the plot develops. It’s the why of it all that will leave the deep thinkers reeling.

My dad’s main question was whether this was an accurate portrayal of Japanese society at that level.  I have never experienced what Amelie-san went through (my superiors have always been great!), and yet I often found myself thinking, “Well, yeah, that and that doesn’t surprise me.”  There were moments when I thought Amelie-san should have known certain rules, no matter how unwritten they were, awareness of which might have saved her some of the hassles she went through.  At the same time, I understood her unwillingness to condone those rules once they were pointed out to her.  And yet, at the end… oh, I’d be giving the plot away if I told much more than that. 

Watch it – I highly recommend it – and tell me what you think. 

French narration, Japanese dialog, and English subtitles. 

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