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People in Film | Sofia Coppola
Posted October 20, 2010 to photo album "People in Film | Sofia Coppola"
A closer look at Sofia Coppola, the writer-director of Focus Features’ Somewhere, which won the Golden Lion at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.
Sofia Coppola | First films
In 1998, Coppola made her first short film and, a year later, her debut feature. Both works dealt with high school, social cliques, and death. In the 14-minute Lick the Star, written by Coppola and Stephanie Hayman, four junior high school girls plot to poison boys at their school with arsenic. A year later came The Virgin Suicides, adapted by Coppola from the Jeffrey Eugenides novel. Here, both the parents and high-school boys in a 1970s Michigan town are mystified and disturbed by the suicides of five of their classmates — sisters. The film stars Kirsten Dunst, James Woods and Kathleen Turner, and is narrated by Giovanni Ribisi, whose character 25 years later remains fascinated by the girls and the enigma of their deaths. With a dreamy soundtrack by the French duo Air, the film masterfully evoked the styles and attitudes of ‘70s youth culture while also acknowledging the ways in which we continually process our pasts throughout our whole lives. “How does [Lick the Stars] relate to The Virgin Suicides?” Coppola asked herself in an interview with The Onion. “Well, the girls in [Lick The Star] were a little younger, like seventh grade. I just remember seventh grade as being really difficult, because there's nothing meaner than a girl at that age…. There's something about being a teenager that's so sincere. Everything is more epic, like your first crush. I feel that it's not always portrayed very accurately.” The Virgin Suicides premiered at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, received its U.S. premiere at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, and Coppola won Best New Director at the MTV Music Awards. Wrote Dennis Lim in the Village Voice, “Sofia Coppola's thoughtfully crafted portrait of lost (or embalmed) adolescence is suffused with a wistfulness so consuming it transcends nostalgia.”