'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 façade. Coppola herself has acknowledged 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 of her works, including, Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Suicides and Lost In Translation (However, she won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2004 for Lost in Translation). One over-ruling criticism is that her storylines focus on portraying ‘the social mores of an elite class’ (which many argue is merely autobiographical – Coppola is the daughter of renowned film director, Francis Ford Coppola) which the majority of her audiences can’t relate to.
Although I’m no film aficionado – I have an insatiable appetite for all things media and I know what I like. Surely the essence 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 attractive one! 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 exquisitely feminine mise en scene and costumes in Marie Antoinette), fluid camera movements, artistic touches and modern soundtracks have all become a vital part of the director’s stylistic approach. As a lover of art, fashion and photography, I appreciate Coppola’s reference to the creative industries, which is an absolute joy to behold.
One particularly stunning piece of film-making is Coppola’s advert for the Miss Dior Cherie fragrance, 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 carefree life of a breathtakingly beautiful model skipping nonchalantly through the streets of Paris. (I wonder if we could all do that if we bought into the dream.) The closing shot of Maryna Linchuk floating angelically over the Parisian rooftops, clinging to a cluster of candy coloured balloons certainly made me pine for the perfume (if not, then to at least wear that heavenly pink dress).
Fashion is undoubtedly a key part of Coppola’s life; she wed her long-term beau in lavender chiffon Alaia. Her close friend and collaborator, Marc Jacobs, once described his muse as ‘Young and sweet and innocent and beautiful.’ It seems there is no limit to Coppola’s artistic talent having tried her hand at designing a handbag and shoe collection, with Jacobs, for Louis Vuitton. The collection conveyed Coppola’s simple, effortless, chic style and achieved immense success. In my opinion she’s effectively emerged from the shadow of her famous father – furthermore she’s established herself as an eminent creative individual in her own right.