A movie treasure: Oscar winner and considered one of the best films of the last 20 years, it’s on Netflix

Winner of the Oscar for best original screenplay and nominated in three other categories, best film, best direction and best actor, “Encontros e Misencontros” is a feature film written and directed by Sofia Coppola, who made history by being the first woman to receive so many nominations in one year. Shot on a budget of just $4 million and in 27 days, the film grossed nearly $120 million worldwide.

Because it was a sentimental project for Coppola, she decided to use analogue cameras instead of digital ones, against the advice of her father, the renowned Francis Ford Coppola. For her, films would be more romantic, although less modern. The plot is inspired by her own story, as she experienced a crisis in her marriage to fellow film director Spike Jonze.

Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte, a young woman married to music video director John (Giovanni Ribisi). She is accompanying him on a business trip to Tokyo. But her husband is so busy that Charlotte feels lonely and lost in a strange city. But not only that, she feels disconnected from everything, as if there is no place for her in the world. One day, Charlotte meets famous actor Bob Harris (Bill Murray), who is staying at the same hotel. He’s in Japan shooting a commercial for a brand of whiskey. Charlotte and Bob feel an immediate connection.

However, what they feel for each other is not exactly sexual or romantic, but a soul connection. It’s as if Charlotte lands again on Planet Earth when she finds him. She can feel human again, feel normal. The company of the other makes them feel less alone and less misunderstood.

Perhaps it was the fact that they were both feeling frustrated and out of their own bodies, or perhaps it was the fact that they were the only ones who spoke English in this foreign territory. The original title of the film “Lost in Translation” is exactly about how some words or expressions lose their meaning in translation. Having a person with whom you can communicate in an unknown and culturally different place is essential to not feel so alone and disconnected from the world. In the film, this works in the literal sense, but also emotionally.

“Encontros e Misencontros” is about intimacy. John, who is married to Charlotte, does not know her and is not able to see her as Bob, who has just met her. If on the one hand, Coppola made the film to express how he felt in the final sighs of his marriage to Jonze, which ended at the same time as this film’s release, ten years later he also told how he felt about Coppola in the feature film. “She”, which also starred Scarlett Johansson and won the Oscar for best original screenplay.

The photography of “Lost and Miss” was so clear in Coppola’s mind that she made a photo book before filming to show how she wanted her scenes to be captured, from an aesthetic point of view. It is noticeable the use of cameras in the operator’s hand, moving with the movement of his body; stealthy images, like those of the subway, also because the team was not authorized to film on location, so the recordings were made in secret; still, the similarity of the captures as of a documentary. The director wanted the footage to look like a documentation of facts.

With an independent cinema footprint and a very introspective and sincere language, the film is one of those that win us over with emotion. Unlike “Maria Antoinette”, by the same director and released three years later, a film super concerned with an exaggerated aesthetic and rich in details, in “Encontros e Disencontros” less is more. It is through the ultrasensitive performances, the juxtaposition between drama and comedy and the meaningful dialogues that the film builds itself and becomes great.

Film: Meetings and Disagreements
Direction: Sofia Coppola
Year: 2003
Gender: Drama/Comedy
note: 10/10

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