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Entries in The Virgin Suicides (6)

Wednesday
Apr252018

Soundtracking: "The Virgin Suicides"

Chris looks at the music of Sofia Coppola's debut, now a part of The Criterion Collection.

Time has been kind to Sofia Coppola The Virgin Suicides, as effective a critique on the male gaze as anything else in the past twenty years. In Coppola’s gauzy vision of its central Lisbon sisters (as told by neighborhood boys) is a reflection of male idolatry that ignores the voice and emotional reality of real women. While the film is typically remembered for how it visually creates this perspective, it also uses music in interesting ways to subvert male self-serving worship.

The film is haunted by Air’s “Playground Love”, it’s most evocative and film-defining musical passage. It’s an apt song choice, one that tempts you into its pull like the tumble into a teenage crush, all jazzy hormones mired in lyrical thinness. And yet despite its temptation and seemingly feminine sway, its a starkly male brand of lust and the woman on the other end of its proclamations is never more than a vague idea. Naturally, it becomes the theme song to its young male obsession with the unknowable and unknown girls on the receiving end of empty crushes. Coppola sees and hears your  horniness and you willful ignorance, gentlemen, and the film sends out a subtle and cutting middle finger.

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Tuesday
Jan022018

Criterion hints at 2018

Chris here. With the new year brings another instalment of our favorite cinematic visual puzzle: the Criterion Collection's animated hints at the films coming to their lineup this year! While the cat's already out of the bag that this year we will see Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides and Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man will get the cineaste luxury treatment, the always charming and coy drawing below provides some brain teasers of what else we might see. The more obvious guesses include Aki Karismäki's The Other Side of Hope and Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine - can you spot any other titles coming soon from Criterion?

Monday
Jul032017

Coppola's Turning World

She was the still point of the turning world, man.

As many of us have begun (finally) seeing The Beguiled, the latest from Sofia Coppola, I was instantly struck by the above line from The Virgin Suicides. It is spoken in reference to Kirsten Dunst's Lux, but it also feels representative of Coppola's work as a whole. Although her cinematic world alters between films, Coppola still seems fascinated by individual characters, individual experiences. 

Many of us are fighting a heat-stricken summer malaise, and for some reason, this thought was comforting. The world keeps turning and rearranging itself, but some things remain the same. May we all find solace in that sentiment as we head into our 4th of July week ahead.

Saturday
Jun242017

Sofia Coppola's Filmography Thus Far

By Spencer Coile 

Sofia Coppola's films belong inside a dream. Her unique blend of warm (yet vibrant) colors, stunning cinematography, and complicated characters, were on display from her debut feature onward. Although many cite Lost in Translation as her magnum opus, to ignore the rest of her stellar filmography would be a disservice to one of the most eloquent contemporary filmmakers. 

Since The Beguiled opens wide next week (it's now playing in LA and NYC) and with her historic Best Director victory at Cannes this year fresh in their mirror let's look at the filmography...

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Thursday
May072015

Women's Pictures - Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides

Welcome to Sofia Coppola month! Over the course of this series, I’ve noticed a pattern. So far, the first films our directors made have been smallish, personal movies; unpolished films that carry the seeds of themes and images that will grow as the directors do. The Virgin Suicides is not that movie. Sofia Coppola’s 1999 first feature film is neither small nor unpolished. While the film carries themes of isolation and adolescence that Coppola will continue to explore throughout her career, this is not the unpolished or underfunded first film of someone still learning the business. Starring two stars on the cusp of breakthrough (Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett), as well as several well-loved actors (Kathleen Turner, James Woods, Danny DeVito), and shot by a cinematographer with 20 years of experience (Edward Lachman), this may be the most well-varnished first film we’ve seen.

Adapted by Coppola from Jeffrey Eugenides’s novel, The Virgin Suicides is a nostalgic suburban gothic. Set in 1970s Detroit, an unnamed narrator reminisces on his high school crush on the girls next door, five sisters who committed suicide for reasons he still can’t understand:

Everyone dates the decline of our neighborhood from the deaths of the Lisbon girls.

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Thursday
Jan122012

10 Things I Learned About Kathleen Turner This Week

Kathleen Turner as Molly Ivins

Those of you in the Los Angeles area have two enticing theater options coming up. The first -- an absolute must see -- is the Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. It's coming to LA soon from Broadway intact but for Bernadette Peters who will be replaced by another major but less famous talent, Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza). The other theater option is currently playing. I can't vouch for since I haven't seen it, but it's the one and only Kathleen Turner playing Molly Ivins in the one woman show Red Hot Patriot.

I have however seen Kathleen Turner live on stage twice (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and High) and she doesn't lose even one ounce of her charisma or gift on the stage the way many screen stars do when they attempt the transfer. Earlier this week she had a live chat at the LA Times Culture Monster and, though I've never participated in one of those before it was my darling Kathleen (she along with Pfeiffer and Streep is how I became such an actress-obsessive in my formative years) so I had to!

I told her I missed her onscreen and her response went like so.

I have a film coming out called A Perfect Family sometime this Spring. I still enjoy camera acting, but it's not as exhilarating to me as being on stage."

Ten other things I learned during her chat with fans after the jump...

10 Notable Bits From Kathleen Turner's Live Chat

10. Her favorite actors are Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench. How strange is that? MOMENTS before this live chat we had just made a major plea for them to present at the Oscars together. This is empirical evidence that Kathleen was reading the Film Experience as she answered questions! ;) But in all serious lord knows if she ever googles herself, she's seen the site.  

"PUSSY WILLOW"

09. Her favorite of her own films is Serial Mom because she has so many wonderful memories from the set ("most laughs") and she is still close with John Waters. This movie prompted the funnest questions from her gathered fans. Had she ever made a prank phone call "For heaven's sake, no! Nor will I". One fan said the house the real Serial Mom lived in in Baltimore was for sale. Should he buy it and give tours? "Good luck!" was her perfect succinct response. 

8-1 after the jump

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