Sylvie Testud wins my vote for Most Likely To Be A Reincarnation Of Buster Keaton. What a funny and touching po-faced performance. She embodies the East-West split like a keystone cop doing the splits with each foot on a different moving car. On a bumpy road. Porkpie hats off. She made me cry laughing.
"As a child I wanted to become God, then Jesus, then conscious of my excessive ambition, I accepted becoming a martyr when I grew up. As an adult, I decided to be less of a megalomaniac ... but now there was no stopping the lightening speed of my downfall. ... from divinity to the restroom, what a voyage!" - Amélie
This isn't just a film about japan. It's a film about power relationships and how easy it is for fascism to sprout up. I found it deeply arresting as well as very funny in places .. most of all it made me think a lot. The script was fantastic. I recorded my thoughts on my film review blog, www.nothingfake.com -- feel free to check it out: http://www.nothingfake.com/#!I-JUST-WATCHED-Fear-And-Trembling/c2011/
But there really are people like this. Who want to be "Japanese," and submit to the torture chamber of a Japanese office job - not talking back, not making suggestions, not shouting, not quitting. But you can't be Japanese, and they'll let you know it every chance they get. The heroine toughs out a year of humiliation at the hands of local sadists lurking in cubicles to save herself losing face. Quel dommage!