Crossing Over: How 'Lost in Translation' Uses the Frame

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The caverns of meaning and negative space can operates similarly.

Bridging the gaps in our lives can be spatial or metaphysical. When it comes to Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson finding each other in a foreign land, sharing a moment of each other’s lives in Lost in Translation, the images are as important as the narrative – and honestly if that final interaction is any indication, more important.

Crossing the negative space in the middle of the frame, when both characters hug the edges of the screen, is how they show unwillingness to change. There is fear and complacency lodged in their stuckness. Only when they cross is development possible.

Fabian Broeker’s video essay helps convey this thematic usage, pushing its characters together and then throwing them apart. Sofia Coppola’s control of her frames, along with her director of photography Lance Acord (who did Where the Wild Things Are and Marie Antoinette after this), makes the film a visual delight.

Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).