7.1/10
3,998
41 user 40 critic

Fear and Trembling (2003)

Stupeur et tremblements (original title)
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 »

Director:

Alain Corneau

Writers:

Amélie Nothomb (novel), Alain Corneau (scenario)
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young Japanophile Belgian woman in Tokyo falls into a whirlwind romance with a Francophile Japanese student.

Director: Stefan Liberski
Stars: Pauline Etienne, Taichi Inoue, Julie LeBreton
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young Frenchman (Jean-Hugues Anglade) finds adventure in India while searching for a lost friend who disappeared. During his search he will find strange people but he will discover too a new fascinating country.

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Jean-Hugues Anglade, Clémentine Célarié, Otto Tausig
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

It's late 17th century. The viola da gamba player Monsieur de Sainte Colombe comes home to find that his wife died while he was away. In his grief he builds a small house in his garden into... See full summary »

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Anne Brochet
Love Crime (2010)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Ruthless executive Christine brings on young Isabelle as her assistant taking delight in toying with her innocence. But when Christine starts passing on her protege's ideas as her own, things take a dark turn.

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Ludivine Sagnier, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patrick Mille
Série noire (1979)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Franck Poupart is a slightly neurotic door-to-door salesman in a sinister part of Paris' suburbs. He meets Mona, a teenager, who's been made a prostitute by her own aunt. Franck would like ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Patrick Dewaere, Myriam Boyer, Marie Trintignant
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An inspector is having a secret relationship with a woman. When she is murdered by his boss, all proof is against him.

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Yves Montand, François Périer, Simone Signoret
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Clara a peur des mots. Sa fille, Anna, a peur des autres. Vincent a peur de grandir... Mais il n'aura pas peur de les aimer.

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Sylvie Testud, Sergi López, Camille Gauthier
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Gu, a famous gangster, has just escaped from jail. All french police is after him. Before leaving the country with Manouche, the woman he loves, Gu needs a final job to get some money. The job works, but a police's scheming makes Gu appear as a traitor to his own accomplices. Gu will do whatever it takes to clean his honor...

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Monica Bellucci, Michel Blanc
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Based on the true story of two chambermaids (the Papin sisters) of 1930s France who murdered their employer and her daughter.

Director: Jean-Pierre Denis
Stars: Sylvie Testud, Julie-Marie Parmentier, Isabelle Renauld
Le cousin (1997)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Nounours is the nickname of a "cousin" an informer with a special arrangement with the police: he gets 10% of the drugs seized thanks to his help. When his personal contact, inspector ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Patrick Timsit, Alain Chabat, Samuel Le Bihan
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two men break out of prison; a rival gang ambushes them. One is mortally wounded and tells the other, Mickey, to take him to the estate of a retired robber, Noel, who lives in comfort with ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Yves Montand, Gérard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
Director: Alain Corneau
Stars: Thierry Lhermitte, Patrick Timsit, Marie Trintignant
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France | Japan

Language:

French | Japanese

Release Date:

12 March 2003 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Bojazn i drzenie See more »

Filming Locations:

Kyoto, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Some computers show a Windows desktop interface inexistent in 1990. See more »

Connections

Features Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Goldberg Variations
(selections)
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Pierre Hantaï, harpsichord
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

'Gaijin: Approach the Emperor with fear and trembling!'
30 July 2005 | by janos451See all my reviews

The 2003 "Fear and Trembling" is just now being released in the US, with the Northern California premiere taking place in San Francisco's Balboa Theater, Aug. 4-10, 2005.

A mind-boggling view into the heart of Japan, "Fear and Trembling" includes some of the incongruous hilarity of Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" and the monstrous (if ceremonially correct) barbarity of Nagisa Oshima's "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence," but it's also tremendously new and different. It will make you laugh, cringe, learn, and refuse to accept what appears obvious to those on the screen.

As those two other Western perspectives on Japan, Alain Corneau's story is about the comedy and trauma of East-West relations, in this case through the epic (and yet deeply personal) struggle of a young Belgian woman "to fit in" with a Tokyo corporation.

Amélie Northomb is the author of the autobiographical novel on which the film is based, Sylvie Testud is the brilliant actress who plays the role. Amélie was born in Tokyo, daughter of Brussels' ambassador to Japan (although the film doesn't say this), lived there until age 5 when her family returned to Belgium. She considered Japan her real home, maintaining a deeply-felt, romantic attachment to the language and culture of the country.

In her mid-20s, Amélie gets a job as a translator with a giant corporation in Tokyo, and the film tells the story of her often incredible life of abuse, humiliation, and (to an outsider) near-insane routines that's the lot of Japan's salarymen... especially those who are women. Amélie goes from doing brilliant multilingual research - in violation, as it turns out, of company procedures, defying a supervisor's hatred of "odious Western pragmatism" - to resetting calendars... to serving coffee... to being made to copy the same document over and over again... to months of cleaning restrooms.

Impossible? Well, yes, but it is both "a true story" in fact, and Corneau - the great director of "Tous les matins du monde" and "Nocturne indien" - somehow gets the audience a few tentative steps closer to the "Japanese mind." It is, of course, only a partial success, but in the end, there is a fragile, right-brain appreciation of what is "most Japanese" in the film: Amélie's persistence through it all, "to save face."

At the same time, much of the conflict remains incomprehensible to an outsider, such as a supervisor's order to Amélie (hired because of language ability) "to forget Japanese" when there are visitors to the office. His explanation: "How could our business partners have any feeling of trust in the presence of white girl who understood their language? From now on you will no longer speak Japanese."

In the large, uniformly excellent Japanese cast, the name to learn is that of Kaori Tsuji, an amazing physical presence: a 6-foot-tall Japanese woman with a face that's both icily "perfect" and achingly vulnerable. In her film debut, Tsuji successfully copes with a major role that requires projecting many deep, often conflicting emotions - without changing her uniform, constant "correct expression."

Personally, "Fear and Trembling" came as a surprise, almost a shock. I thought, mistakenly, that after living in Hawaii for a decade, and having besides innumerable points of contact with Japanese culture and people, I wouldn't feel about an apparently truthful picture of the country as if I observed some bizarre and incomprehensible aliens... but I did.


39 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 41 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed