Sofia and Kirsten

Great critique of Sofia Coppola in Bright Lights:

“There’s no doubt that Coppola creates a very rarefied mood, in which unusual music is matched with a specific era of design. Even the last shot, with the palace thrown into disarray, is an album cover. But is this the work of a director with vision, or a good stylist? Coppola has made a career out of mix-ups that sound interesting conceptually — Japan and ennui, royalty and pop — but is there anything beyond the excitement of the initial disconnect? She invents themes which seem intriguing on a production level, but these are rarely followed through, and in my opinion, don’t add up to a film. Marie Antoinette is a less frustrating film than Lost in Translation (2003), in that frivolity is its actual subject, but both movies are odes to pop set against blurry backgrounds. Each film has a mysterious or unexpected setting, with a precedent in music videos. However, in Lost in Translation, Coppola isn’t much interested in Japan, other than as a stylist’s backdrop. The Japanese exist only to inspire deadpan reaction shots from Bill Murray — but as Murray showed in Groundhog Day (1993), one doesn’t need to go to Japan to get a sea of unresponsive faces. Japan merely provides a color scheme, and an opportunity to take neon stills, in the way that a blue-screen Tokyo might be used in a fashion shoot. Like the Versailles of Marie Antoinette, its ceremonies are viewed ironically, by a privileged figure. …Marie Antoinette makes us long for the smashed palace at the end: something to break through its stylish sensibility. What the film needed was a performance which exposed self-involvement, while letting us feel immersed and attracted by it.”

The article also lauds Kirsten Dunst, and I may have to revise somewhat my opinion of her as an idiot:

“Dunst felt Gwyneth Paltrow’s interpretation of Sylvia Plath was incorrect. According to her, Sylvia (2003) failed because Plath was “a girl who wanted to hurt. She wanted to feel terrible…I felt like, in [Paltrow’s performance], it was more like, ‘I’m the victim!’ It should have been more that she liked to create all this shit in her head. She was crazier.”

via Greencine

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