'Imagination will take you everywhere'
The film-maker, Sofia Coppola, has long been criticised for her focus on the visual aesthetic of her work and lack of substance underneath the beautiful facade. Coppola herself has admitted that her love of art, fashion and photography has influenced her decisions as a film director, and as a result the critics have not been particularly complimentary on her works, including, Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Suicides and Lost In Translation. One over ruling criticism is that her storylines focus on portraying ‘the social mores of an elite class’ (which many critics argue is merely autobiographical – Coppola is the daughter of renowned film director, Francis Coppola) which the majority of her audiences can’t relate to.
I can sort of understand this point, but I disagree with the critics as – although I’m not a film buff – I am a regular consumer of media texts and I know what I want to watch. Surely the whole point of films is to be able to lose yourself in the world the director is trying to portray? The audience doesn’t necessarily have to ‘relate’ to the subject matter of the film – sometimes it’s nice to be transported into a dream – and all the better if it’s a visually appealing dream! What Coppola lacks in depth of story, she makes up for in the appealing form of her work; an abundance of pastel colours (think of the exquisite mise en scene in Marie Antoinette – and the costumes!), fluid camera movements, artistic touches and modern soundtracks, have all become a vital part to the director’s stylistic approach. As a lover of art, fashion, photography, etc, I appreciate Coppola’s reference to the cultural and creative industries, which is a pleasure to view on screen.
One particularly beautiful piece of film-making is Coppola’s advert for Miss Dior Cherie perfume, which combines fast paced editing in a montage style with an obvious focus on stylish mise en scene and costume to depict the glamorous and care-free life of an enviously gorgeous model who skips nonchalantly around Paris… (I wonder if we bought the perfume we could all do that? Apart from the end shot of course!)