Stasis, represented through this motionless object, allows us to make sense of the contradictions and the inevitability of change in this family. Where Noriko’s world is increasingly riddled with cracks, the vase is sturdy and whole; where her future is in a motion she cannot control, the vase is comfortably still.
Binoche expresses such a range of emotions that we cannot be sure what her endgame is. She won the Best Actress prize at Cannes for her role, an honor that recognizes her ability to captivate an audience even in a performance that keeps shifting and changing registers before our eyes.
To view Coppola’s plots as flimsy or nonexistent is to miss the point. The depth of her work is not characterized by meaning, but by organization. The character portraits, spaces, and sounds that comprise her films foster a unified vision of emptiness.