Stupeur Et Tremblements * Alain Corneau * 2003
“Fear And Trembling”, like “Lost In Translation” is about (a) Westerner(s) in Japan. In this case, Amélie was born in Japan, but moved to Belgium at the age of five. All her life she wanted to live in her birth country, so she moves back. After a long fight, she gets a job at a Japanese mega company. This is where the film starts. Amélie learns about Japanese corporate hierarchy and bureaucracy and obviously doesn’t fit in with her too Western mentality. Even though she speaks Japanese fluidly, she obviously doesn’t understand Japanese culture. This results in enormous clashes making her career going downwards instead of upwards. Still, she decides to take the situation ‘the Japanese way’.
The film is surprising, entertaining and funny. Japanese culture is shown with a nice chunk of irony, without becoming insulting. The situations are totally not-recognisable for a Westerner, but understandable if the Japanese view of things is given correctly. The whole film plays in the office building were Amélie works, but “Stupeur et Tremblents” easily keeps the attention for the 109 minutes it takes.