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Fear and Trembling movie.. comments?

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Fear and Trembling movie.. comments?

Postby Midori » Tue 09.20.2005 12:37 pm

I just saw this movie, Fear and Trembling, and I'm sort of discouraged.. is this true, is this how you would be treated in Japan (as a gajin)?
If so I don't know if I ever want to go there.

Has anyone seen it and know what I'm talking about?

If you don't have, it's about a woman who was born in Japan, daughter to a Belgian ambassador? and lived in Japan until she was five years old, so she speaks Japanese.. then she lived in Belgium until she was twenty? years old.. and she wants to go back to Japan and live and work there.
She manages to get a contract with a Japanese company, as an interpreter, and is very excited but it doesn't turn out that well.. (because of how she is treated). She ends up cleaning toilets and is generally humiliated and mistreated by people at the company.

It is based on a novel, supposedly a true story.

I can't believe I never heard of this before.. (movie is from 2003)

IMDb -
http://akas.imdb.com/title/tt0318725/
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RE: Fear and Trembling movie.. comments?

Postby yankumi » Tue 09.20.2005 2:06 pm

I am not familiar with the movie, but there are some interesting reviews on Amazon of the novel, which may give you a different perspective.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... s&n=507846
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RE: Fear and Trembling movie.. comments?

Postby Midori » Tue 09.20.2005 4:37 pm

Thanks :)

I read them all.. there certainly are different opinions about the book!
Some agree with the author, some say it's just a simple biased prejudiced story.

One review had this..
Because the character was raised in Japan and speaks the language fluently, she's caught between two worlds, she can never be accepted as a Japanese, but she knows to much to be the classic clumsy foreigner.

This is pretty much what made me speachless throughout the movie, that it actually was a disadvantage for her to be fluent in Japanese!

I don't know enough about Japanese culture to make a judgement myself, I'm clueless to what would be prejudice and what would be the truth. Also I guess some of the author's 'mistakes' in Japan could be explained simply by her (young) age rather than the culture clash.
I would have loved to hear the other side of the story - I wonder if that Japanese company ever made a statement after the book had been released.
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RE: Fear and Trembling movie.. comments?

Postby yankumi » Wed 09.21.2005 12:12 am

well, it is a novel, I am not entirely sure it is even based on an episode in her own life, despite some similarities--she was actually born in Kobe. And even if it were, I am going to guess she would have altered enough of the circumstances so it wouldn't be possible to detect which company she was talking about.

Several of the reviews did point out that despite being born in Japan, she seemed to have little understanding of Japanese culture and constantly looked at things as a Westerner. Without having read the book, it does seem to me that it emphasizes that just speaking the language isn't enough, you need to understand--and respect--the culture. I would imagine it would be very hard to stop interpreting things from a Western point of view, even with the best of intentions, since ones own culture becomes so ingrained you don't even realize many of the aspects of it.
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