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Stupeur et tremblements (2003)

Unrated | | Comedy, Drama | 12 March 2003 (France)
A Belgian woman looks back on her year at a Japanese corporation in Tokyo in 1990. She is Amélie, born in Japan, living there until age 5. After college graduation, she returns with a ... See full summary »



(novel), (scenario)
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview:
Kaori Tsuji ...
Tarô Suwa ...
Monsieur Saito
Bison Katayama ...
Monsieur Omochi
Yasunari Kondo ...
Monsieur Tenshi
Sokyu Fujita ...
Monsieur Haneda
Gen Shimaoka ...
Monsieur Unaji
Heileigh Gomes ...
Amélie enfant
Eri Sakai ...
Fubuki enfant


A Belgian woman looks back on her year at a Japanese corporation in Tokyo in 1990. She is Amélie, born in Japan, living there until age 5. After college graduation, she returns with a one-year contract as an interpreter. The vice president and section leader, both men, are boors, but her immediate supervisor, Ms. Mori, is beautiful and trustworthy. Amélie's downfall begins when she speaks perfect Japanese to clients. She compounds her failure by writing an excellent report for an enterprising colleague. The person she least expects to stab her in the back exposes her work. Thus begins her humiliations. What can become of her and of her relationship with Ms. Mori and with Japan? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Unrated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

12 March 2003 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Bojazn i drzenie  »

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Did You Know?


Based on Amélie Nothomb's real-life experience when she was living Japan in her early twenties in the early 1990s . The real-life events narrated in the film took place at the same time than those narrated in Tokyo Fiancée (2014) which depicts Amélie Nothomb's romance with her then-fiancé Rinri. However, Tokyo Fiancée's director Stefan Liberski set his film in the early 2010s. See more »


Although the film is set before the outbreak of the first Gulf War, Windows 95 is shown running on computers used by the office staff. See more »


Followed by Tokyo Fiancée (2014) See more »


Goldberg Variations
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Pierre Hantai, harpsichord
See more »

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User Reviews

I Guess You Had To Be There
19 September 2005 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

Having been a foreigner working in a huge Tokyo office, much the same as the character Amelie, when I saw this film at the San Francisco Film Festival, I was hooked from the first scene onward. Having been denied attending the office Christmas Party because I was "part- time".... No, I am here 9-5, Monday to Friday! "But you are a foreigner, so you are considered part-time". 250 people went to the party. No foreigners....

Then, when the boss came 'round to ask which Saturdays I would like to come in and work, I asked "Do all full-time employees have to come in on some Saturdays?"

"Oh yes, we do."

"Well then, since I am only 'part-time', I will not be able to come to work any Saturdays. Sorry...."

This was a rare moment of zen revenge, which is what you will hope for when Amelie is subjected to life in HER Tokyo office. No, this is not Lost In Translation, which apparently did not enthrall the foreigners who were living in Tokyo, by the way. More like L.I.T. on steroids.

This is a fable, based on reality. Tokyo can be intense. I never flew above the city, but I got twisted enough to wish it.

By the way, the director told our audience that most of the film was done in an office in Paris, and that the lead actress did not know a word of Japanese before the film. This shocked me, as I was quite impressed with her pronunciation and speed. I thought she spoke Japanese, and felt humbled by her skill...

To all the GAIJIN out there - see this film! For others, I would suggest Japanophiles and quirky movie lovers should go, and the Hollywood action types should pass.

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