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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 | Versailles
For her follow-up to Lost in Translation, Coppola traveled to France to take on one of the country’s most iconic historical figures. Marie Antoinette tells the story of this daughter of an Austrian countess who marries her second cousin, becomes the Queen of France, and then becomes a symbol of royal excess during the French Revolution. For her take, Coppola mixed historical detail with cultural anachronism, paying fealty to the locations of the story (she shot in the actual Palace of Versailles) while focusing more on Antoinette’s inner life than the politics around her. Coppola reunited with her Virgin Suicides star Kirsten Dunst, who played the title character, and the cast also included Jason Schwarztman, Judy Davis, Asia Argento and Marianne Faithfull. The soundtrack featured ‘80s New Wave like New Order and Gang of Four. When the film premiered in competition at Cannes in 2006, critics were split. Roger Ebert wrote a spirited defense of the movie, noting, “Every criticism I have read of this film would alter its fragile magic and reduce its romantic and tragic poignancy to the level of an instructional film.” As for the film’s mixture of the period and the modern Coppola said, “My biggest fear was making a ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ kind of movie. I didn’t want to make a dry, historical period movie with the distant, cold tableau of shots. It was very important to me to tell the story in my own way. In the same way as I wanted Lost in Translation to feel like you had just spent a couple of hours in Tokyo, I wanted this film to let the audience feel what it might be like to be in Versailles during that time and to really get lost in that world.”