Amelie (Sylvie Testud), who spent her childhood in Tokyo, wants to go back as a corporate interpreter to the country of her fondest memories. As a woman and as a foreigner unable to grasp the codes of a strict hierarchical society, she fails miserably Scorned and humiliated by her immediate boss Fubuki (Kaori Tsuji) and the whole raft of her superiors Messrs Saito. Omochi.Tenschi and Haneda (Taro Suwa, Bison Katayama,Yasunari Kondo, Sokyu Fujito). Her life spins into a downward spiral that is both tragic and hilarious. She tries to understand the soul of modern Japan from the 44th floor of a company skyscraper in this clash of western and eastern cultures.
Japanese Office Space.
- Fear and Trembling review by Shatner's Bassoon
(3) of (5) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
Fear And Trembling tells the story of Amelie. Born in Japan to Belgian diplomats, Amelie lived in Japan until age five when her family returned to live in Belgium. Considering Japan as her real home and maintaining a deeply felt attachment to the language and culture of the country, now as a young woman she returns to Tokyo to work as a translator for the huge Yamimoto Corporation. She is intelligent, likable and fluent in Japanese; unfortunately, she doesn't fully understand the strict Japanese office traditions and protocols which soon lead to a series of cultural blunders that result in her receiving increasingly degrading tasks. While in western society such behaviour would be intolerable for any employee to endure, Amelie desperately struggles to follow the Japanese principle of not losing face by resigning and aims to fulfil her one year contract with the company. Amelie's rapid descent down the corporate ladder is an absorbing look into Japanese corporate life, a place in which employees are rewarded for loyalty, not initiative, where promotions are given not on the basis of personal accomplishment but on length of service, and bosses use humiliation and degradation to keep employees in line. The quality of acting is superb, especially Sylvie Testud's exceptional portrayal of Amelie, whose fledgling career begins as a confident intelligent young woman who after a year of torment is transformed into a submissive almost childlike character. Although labeled as a comedy, the film really is more of a humorous and at times poignant drama, but if you're a fan of foreign cinema the 'Fear And Trembling' is something that should be at to top of your rental wish list.
Belgium meets Japan clash of cultures
- Fear and Trembling review by JD
(0) of (1) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 3
An interesting but rather aimless and 2 dimensional comparison of east and west. Some of the characters are absurd some of the acting is poor. The main character is a Belgian whose struggle to cope with eastern etiquette leads to her breakdown. For her performance alone it is quite compelling.
East vs West.
- Fear and Trembling review by Jawbreaker
(0) of (2) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
This is a remarkable film that follows an ambitious interpreter during her twelve month contract at a major Japanese company. It is a drama, for all of us that do work in the corporate world there is little humour evident here, although a great deal of surprise! A French film set in Japan does present initial boundaries but most of us can identify with the office culture even in an alien society. For the interpreter she fails badly to inject any Western influence into such a rigid organisation, soon finding out who her friends and enemies really are. I found it a fascinating tale, with some flights of fancy that did not fit into the overall scheme of things. Kaori Tsuji and Sylvie Testud both excel in their polar opposed roles, ensuring the film is a real success.