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4.1 out of 5 stars
9
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 19 July 2010
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 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 labelled 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 a must see.
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on 2 June 2010
Being a Japanese who worked in a big corporation for 10 years in Japan in 1990s,
and currently working in UK,
I watched this film with horror.
Almost everything in this film is realistic, apart from one thing, Amelie.
If she was a Japanese, and less stupid than she was,
then this film would have been very realistic.

Every Japanese would know a few (Japanese) colleagues who suffered a same fate as Amelie,
even if they were much more capable than Amelie.
Although she hurt other's feeling by her lack of consideration,
it would have been forgiven in Europe provided she had a good intention,
but not in Japan where only the outcome matters not the intention.

This film depicts, though slightly exaggerated, dark side of Japanese culture,
which generates cultural refugee like myself, perhaps responsible for many of suiside cases (30,000/year) and some wrong doings during WWII.
I could hardly open my eyes while watching many of the scenes...

Although I rate highly for the authenticity for a foreign production,
I would not recommend this film unless you enjoy feeling depressed.
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on 14 March 2005
This is a film that I was 'persuaded' to see by friends and, as often happens, I became its greatest fan. It magically combines high comedy with the inevitable downfall of the main character. It's set out with clarity and compassion for both sides of this culture clash. Watch it, you won't be disappointed.
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on 19 March 2005
I really enjoyed this film - to the extent that I saw it twice at the cinema. It is a film which, like the book, is simultaneously 'hyper-real' and magical and dreamy. Testud is fantastic and unusual. It is both funny and sad. Watch out for the calendar ripping scenes - amusing and stylish.
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on 22 February 2007
In the late 80's Japanese economy was viewed with envious eyes, and best-selling books said a company's survival depended on doing business the Japanese way. Well Belgian writer Amelie Nothomb happened to be in Tokyo in 1989, and later on wrote her own book - an autobiographical novel, that inspired this dark, often comical, story about life inside a giant Asian corporation.

Amelie (played by the wonderful Sylvie Testud) is hired as a translator for the Yamamoto Corporation, and put into the accounting department. She is bright, talented and fluent in Japanese and all goes well at first. Unfortunately, Amelie doesn't fully comprehend the office culture and protocols, which leads to a series of missteps, which result in her receiving increasingly degrading assignments.

Amelie's descent down the corporate ladder provides a fascinating glimpse into Japanese corporate life. It is a place that rewards loyalty, not initiative, where workers are promoted based on time served, not because of accomplishment, and bosses use public humiliation to keep their employees in line.

One of the most unique films I've seen in the 21st century.
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on 29 March 2005
I read the book in French and really enjoyed it. I then got a chance to see the film . Excellent! Just as I'd imagined it - whilst remembering that this is an account of the author's own very real experience of a year working in Japan . Once you've seen the film and know what's going on , it actually pays to watch it in the original Japanese. A very fine performance from Sylvie Testud - an actress to watch out for in the future .
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on 9 August 2015
Couldn't watch this as dvd was faulty. Awaiting refund
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on 12 June 2016
Original. A pure joy. Highly recommended.
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on 29 October 2016
as good as expected
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