From Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Lost in Translation: feelings in comparison

The love story between two characters is probably one of the most common narrative hubs ever. Since ancient times, love, manifested in all its possible declinations, has appeared in plays and poems, as well as in books, songs, later in films, both through its more benevolent and exciting sides as well as in the most tragic or dramatic ones.
The cinema, of course, has focused a lot on this multifaceted genre, ranging from timeless films such as Gone With the Wind to arrive at (post) modern reinterpretations of romantic comedy such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, however, without having problems in winking at science fiction in the little great masterpiece If you leave me I cancel you signed by Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman.
The same Breakfast at Tiffany’s, released in 1961, entered the collective imagination for his ability to reach (and know how to speak) a wide range of audiences by telling a classic sentimental story combined with comedy, in the same way of Sofia Coppola’s cult Lost in Translation, also able to focus on numerous sweet and sweet notes capable of not idealizing the very concept of romantic history.
And it is precisely on these last two films that we will try to concentrate, in an attempt to analyze them both from a thematic and content point of view, continuing in our analysis dedicated to the most famous cinematographic genres and sub-genres.

A particular breakfast

One of the most iconic scenes from the work of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the one in which we see the protagonist Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn) having breakfast in front of the homonymous jewelry, has entered our collective imagination, able to excite us in a few minutes through a mood that is sometimes melancholy and profound, which we will actually find again later in the film.
The work focuses on the encounter / clash between Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak (played by George Peppard) two characters united by the uncertainty of everyday life and both in search of their own place in the world, apparently happy but in reality from the soul in turmoil.
The work, also focusing heavily on the tones of comedy, intelligently manages to focus on some classic themes of sentimental stories, focusing on the pursuit of happiness of the protagonists and the way in which they take action to obtain it.
Both characters, apparently at peace with the world, are actually forced by circumstances to live a perfect life only on the surface, focusing on sentimental relationships linked primarily to the material goods of their partners.

This will be one of the fundamental nuclei of the story, capable if we want to refer to a nineteenth-century sentimental novel structure compared to the present of the time, in which pure feelings are contrasted by the material benefits deriving from a marriage with the classic “good match”.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, albeit fully representing the comedy genreThanks to a whole series of funny scenes and a characterization of the characters based on lightness, he does not skimp on providing the spectators with a deeper interpretation, which will become more and more important with the continuation of the film.
The bond that unites the two main characters will strengthen, as will their character maturation.
Very good work also done on Holly Golightly herself, not only through her more exuberant and if we want superficial sides, but also capable of showing herself indecisive and troubled about her future, arriving in some moments to be almost hopeless and defeated by adversity, although able, also thanks to the strength of the feelings felt for Paul, to find the lost road.
It is therefore difficult to remain impassive in the face of the emotional ending, able to focus on the amorous / sentimental dimension and to enclose another of the most touching and pathos-rich moments of the entire film.

Get lost and find yourself

Given the huge number of films belonging to the genre, telling a story with a romantic background in an original way is certainly not an easy task, albeit Sofia Coppola, with her Lost in Translation (who shot, wrote and produced), has managed to play with the genre admirably, reinterpreting the concept in her own way by focusing on the comparison between the disillusioned actor and now almost at the end of his career Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and the young Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson).

That set up by the work could be defined as an asynchronous love story, in which the two protagonists, albeit meeting by chance in a luxurious hotel in Tokyo, find themselves confronted in flashes on the most disparate issues related to living, managing to find a harmony between them perhaps only imagined up until then.
Bob is in fact an actor, in town to shoot commercials he doesn’t really believe in (but which can make him a lot of money in a short time), symptom of his existential disillusionment which does not actually allow him to feel pleasure in hearing from his wife or children.
The character is so deeply alone, as is Charlotte herself, who found herself in Tokyo simply to accompany her photographer husband in one of his endless works.
The girl in several moments she appears visibly overlooked by her partner and unable to find comfort from his friends and relatives (even only by telephone), a detail that immediately cloaks his figure with a deep melancholy note.

The meeting between the two characters is thus for both at times saving but also poignant, as evidenced by the various sequences in which we see both Bob and Charlotte immersed in their solitude in the moments when they are not next to each other to dialogue, unable to save themselves from their sorrows in a definitive way.
Yet, the harmony that is born between them is almost miraculous (since they are two perfect strangers), almost as if both had entered a sort of world of fairy tales, an alternative reality that becomes contemporary Tokyo, made of neon lights and extravagance, where anything can happen and, at least in appearance, can be solved.
Once again, however, the happiness of the protagonists from the beginning seems destined not to last forever, almost as if they both realize they are faced with a daydream, perhaps too good to be true.
The film is a small milestone in recent cinema for its ability to exploit the sentimental genre without idealizing it but, indeed, showing both its strengths and weaknesses, trying as much as possible to get away from the romantic clichés to surprise the viewer with original ideas.
Also in this case, the ending is well orchestrated, able to enclose the entire poetics of the film in a few moments, very delicate in some situations, but at the same time deeply melancholy.

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