The heroine of Alain Corneau's culture-clash comedy Fear and Trembling (2003) is a Japanese-born Belgian career girl, Amélie (the always-animated Sylvie Testud), who pursues her goal of becoming "a real Japanese" by submitting to a series of hideous chores -- including endless photolcopying and bathroom work -- even though she's allegedly been hired by a soulless multi-national corporation as a translator. The Japanese characters in this odd (and oddly funny) variation on Secretary are all screaming lunatics, but that doesn't prevent the bewildered heroine from falling for her sadistic boss, Fubuki (Kaori Tsuji), who treats her with indifferent contempt. This very strange take on Japanese culture in conflict with Western incomprehension shows a comic daring that not everyone in Tokyo and Kyoto has embraced.
Fear and Trembling (French title: Stupeur et Tremblements) opens Friday, March 18, at the Starz FimCenter at the Tivoli, 900 Auraria Parkway, and runs through March 24. For information and showtimes, call 303-820-2356.