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Stupeur Et Tremblements
     

Stupeur Et Tremblements

Director: Alain Corneau,

Cast: Alain Corneau, Sylvie Testud, Kaori Tsuji, Taro Suwa

 
French director Alain Corneau delves into the painfully irrational world of office politics, which are further complicated by a severe case of culture clash in his 2003 comedy, Stupeur et Tremblements (Fear and Trembling). Based on the similarly titled memoirs of author Amélie Nothomb and her employment experiences with a Japanese mega-corporation,

Overview

French director Alain Corneau delves into the painfully irrational world of office politics, which are further complicated by a severe case of culture clash in his 2003 comedy, Stupeur et Tremblements (Fear and Trembling). Based on the similarly titled memoirs of author Amélie Nothomb and her employment experiences with a Japanese mega-corporation, Fear and Trembling begins with Amélie (Sylvie Testud) landing in Tokyo shortly after receiving her college education. The young Belgian chose to return to Japan -- where she spent the first five years of her life before her family relocated back to Europe -- for her first job in an entry-level position with the Yumimoto Corporation. Amélie diligently accomplishes her daily tasks with invention and ambition, but her work ethic proves threatening to her immediate supervisors who single her out as a deviant within the corporation's firmly entrenched power hierarchy. As she is led through a series of humiliations and demotions designed to destroy her individuality, Amélie is forced to submit to an endless stream of unreasonable demands issued by nearly every supervisor with seniority over her. Determined to complete her one-year contract with the company in spite of the vicious power struggles, Amélie wages a kind of culture war from her irreversible position as lowest rung on the power ladder.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richie Unterberger
Comically absurd, but not quite a comedy, Fear and Trembling is the kind of film you might uneasily laugh at once in a while. But its farcical elements coat serious commentary on huge cultural differences and the vicious human costs of maintaining and saving face within Japanese corporate culture. Sylvie Testud brings the appropriate mix of pixieish waifishness and cunning literary observation to the lead role as the amused yet acutely suffering heroine, though there's a touch of magical realism to her musings (often expressed in narrative voiceover) that some viewers might find a bit too dotty. While there are occasional glimpses of life outside the monolithic high-rise in which she works (sometimes, in more magical realism, via her imagined bird-like flights over the city of Tokyo), almost all of the action takes place in the claustrophobically sterile and regimented office in which she performs her dehumanizingly menial tasks. That's if "action" is the right word for it: most of the leisurely, at times snail-like-paced, action here is psychological, whether it's Testud futilely trying to guess at the motivations behind the increasingly cruel and pointless tasks she's assigned, or the impassive faces of her supervisors that can unpredictably boil over into rage or hysterical laughter. No faces are icier than that of her female colleague Kaori Tsuji (who brings a regal frost to her role), and the gradual deterioration of their tentative camaraderie into backstabbing rage is the film's most arresting element. If there's any slightly unconvincing aspect of the movie, it's how the obviously intelligent if whimsical Testud crumbles a little too easily into self-effacing resignation when it becomes obvious her Japanese employers will not give her the respect and duties she deserves, even if it means shooting themselves in the foot to maintain their hierarchy. Still, Fear and Trembling is a simultaneously amusing and chilling look into a work ethic that many Westerns find incomprehensible.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/06/2005
UPC:
0037429209127
Original Release:
2003
Rating:
NR
Source:
Homevision
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:47:00

Special Features

Digital transfer enhanced for 16:9 televisions; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound; Making-Of featurette; Original theatrical trailer; Essay by film critic Mark Peranson of cinemascope magazine

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sylvie Testud Amelie
Kaori Tsuji Fubuki Mori
Taro Suwa Mr. Saito
Bison Katayama Mr. Omochi
Yasunari Kondo Mr. Tenshi
Sokyu Fujita Mr. Haneda
Gen Shimaoka Mr. Unaji

Technical Credits
Alain Corneau Director,Screenwriter
Yves Angelo Cinematographer
Thierry Derocles Editor
Pierre Gamet Sound/Sound Designer
Christine Gozlan Executive Producer
Gerard Lamps Sound/Sound Designer
Valerie Leblanc Production Designer
Alain Sarde Producer
Philippe Taillefer Production Designer
Vincent Trintignant Asst. Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Fear and Trembling
1. A Real Japanese [2:44]
2. Introducing... [2:36]
3. Letter From Hell [2:57]
4. Miss Mori [1:08]
5. Yumimoto Corporation [1:44]
6. First Offense [4:37]
7. Superiors [4:37]
8. No to Initiative [2:14]
9. The Queen of Calendars [2:29]
10. Xerox Punishment [3:53]
11. Mr. Angel [5:38]
12. Denounced [7:03]
13. Share the Suffering [3:12]
14. The Zen of Accounting [2:44]
15. GMBH [3:05]
16. Brain Needed [4:21]
17. Sisyphus [3:42]
18. Christ of Computers [1:25]
19. Lower and Lower [3:00]
20. The Scolding of Miss Mori [7:00]
21. Miss Amélie, Toilet Attendant [3:36]
22. Boycott of Floor 44 [5:07]
23. No Paper! [4:50]
24. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence [2:04]
25. Miss Mori's Pleasure [3:33]
26. Saito and Omachi [4:18]
27. Goodbye Japan [6:55]
28. Autobiography [1:25]
29. End Credits [1:26]

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