Stupeur et tremblements

  • Film
  • Comedy
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Adapted from Amélie Nothomb’s French bestseller (‘Stupeur et Tremblements’ – the demeanour required of supplicants to the Emperor in traditional Japan), Corneau’s latest is a whimsical cross-cultural office comedy with a note of mischief. Sylvie Testud (‘La Captive’) plays a dreamy naïf – named Amélie, no less – whose indefatigable Japanophilia is put through the grinder of a Tokyo corporation when she’s hired as a translator. Much as she tries to please her new employers, and in particular the exquisite Miss Fubuki (Kaori Tsuji), she keeps falling foul of the unspoken rules that bind this inscrutable culture – starting with the tactlessly perfect Japanese she trots out in front of a delegation of business rivals…
Easier and more insular with its racial (stereo)types than ‘Lost in Translation’ – the story confines itself to Amélie’s office bounds even before they start to circumscribe her life – the film is occasionally silly and to some degree flimsy; it also sags in the middle, as Amélie reckons with a punishing assignment of accounts chores. (And pasting Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ over swathes of the soundtrack seems a little kneejerk coming from the director of ‘Tous les Matins du Monde’.) The tasty part is the absurdism of the hierarchical power-games in which Amélie becomes passively complicit. You could say it’s ‘Secretary’ without the spanking, but there’s certainly a perverse erotic undercurrent that her own voiceover teases out quite deliciously: office doormats everywhere should be well tickled

Release details

Release date: Friday August 27 2004
Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alain Corneau
Screenwriter: Alain Corneau
Cast: Sylvie Testud
Kaori Tsuji
Taro Suwa
Bison Katayama
Yasunari Kondo
Sokyu Fujita
Gen Shimaoka
Heileigh Gomes
Eri Sakai

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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