Wednesday, September 08, 2010

SOMEWHERE CONTINUED...

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edit* 18.52 Saturday 11th September. Somewhere has won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

So there I was at the premiere of Somewhere and Sofia Coppola was walking towards me. Her dress was Louis Vuitton resort 11 that was customised for her from the original in yellow to guess what, black. If it works, it works. Thomas Mars was at her side, looking adorable and a bit bashful. What surprised me was that all the teenage girls in the crowd who had shouted for Stephen Dorff, for the Italian actors, started chanting SOFIA, SOFIA, SOFIA, very loudly and very excitedly. Evidently 14 year old Italian girls have very good taste in heroines. Even Sofia looked a little surprised - apparently when Lost in Translation premiered at Venice the only person who got cheered was Bill Murray. Sofia kept waving and smiling. She was milling around for ages and eventually gave another little wave before going inside.
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Then we saw the film. But it wasn't quite that simple. As I'd feared, our tickets failed to materialize at the last minute. And all the tickets were completely sold out. Through a mad scramble, a handwritten sign, some hanging around looking hopeful and hopefully adorable, we got one ticket, then I had a mental breakdown, then with about two minutes to spare we got a second ticket - both were thanks to my friend's quick thinking and some very kind strangers who could have sold us their spare tickets for hundreds of euros but only asked for the amount they'd paid or less.

Somewhere feels like a grown up film. For me there were two main differences from the other films Sofia Coppola has made. Both were due to the choices of Harris Savides as cinematographer instead of Lance Acord and in the approach to the soundtrack by Phoenix. Unlike all of Sofia's previous films the music is minimal. There is silence, there is the noise of the Ferrari, there's mostly only actual music when it would naturally be playing, for example at a party. Definitely a different approach to Brian Reitzell's and it took a bit of getting used to for me.

As for the cinematography they used 35mm film and the Zeiss lenses that Francis Ford Coppola shot Rumble Fish with. That gave the film the soft, hazy quality Sofia is known for, but often the camera was fixed for long periods of time, until it almost felt uncomfortable. I know a lot of people thought it was too slow, but I thought the uncomfortableness was intentional and I liked the space it gave. But there are all the Sofia trademarks: the sparse dialogue, the subtlety (my friend and I were wondering if men would react differently to Stephen Dorff driving round and round in his Ferrari than a woman would. Essentially I was wondering if men know that when women hear a Ferrari most of them automatically think, "What a prick.")

The only pure, sweet character in the film is Cleo (Elle Fanning) - all the others have an element of the grotesque. It is definitely a less sweet film - I've read a couple of reviews saying it's just like Lost In Translation and although yes, it's about the relationship developing between a man and a younger girl and it's set in a hotel (or two), there the comparison ends - oh, actually there is one other little thing at the end but I don't want to spoil it. If you tried to describe the plot of the film it could sound cheesy: bad boy Hollywood actor living at The Marmont, women, pills, pole dancing twins - forced to confront himself by the arrival of his 11 year old daughter. But the way it's handled is so light - you just watch it unfold. For me it was the way Sofia showed the emptiness and boredom of his life without judging it that was the big success. That and her talent for subtle comedy: turning the supposedly exotic into the mundane with the use of small details like the squeaking of a pole dancing pole. There are cameos by half Sofia's family and friends: Gia Coppola, Jacqui Getty, Robert Schwartzman. And some private jokes as well - I'd be willing to bet most film reviewers don't see the humour. Oh, and maybe only hardcore Sofia geeks will get this: but guess where Benicio Del Toro shows up?

{photos - my personal photos. Please don't use any of these photos without asking me first - thanks. (The guy in the velvet suit is the director of the festival, Marco Muller.)}

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

"turning the supposedly exotic into the mundane", what a perfect way to put it, do you mind if I use it when talking about the film at cocktail parties? (not that I go to many, but still)
xxx
Mia

anna said...

i just can't wait to see the film! so interesting that she seems to have turned a page , formally speaking, even though she's returning to similar themes and occupations. Savides is a favourite of mine (his work with Van Sant is sublime) so this is going to be incredible.
Thank you so much for your hard work on these posts. It's a real treat to see your photos and read your prose.

Bombay Beauty said...

Great review! Now I can't wait to see it! xo bb

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Mia - of course, my quick thinking friend! xxx

Anna and BB - I was just so excited to be there and my review is hardly obejective, but then reviews rarely are! x

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

*objective*

If Jane said...

mmm..
you know it's funny & i must be honest...i was not even interested to watch the film (although i knew i eventually would)...but hearing that it is a more mature film...with silence and holding the shot until it's uncomfortable...(man oh man...trust me that is hard to do!!! but it shows patience and again. maturity as a filmmaker!)...
and interesting choice re: Harris Savides & the cinematography (whose cinematography i really like!) exactly, Lance Acord, has created a dreamy world for her...Savides visual world is more hazy.
good that she cut down on the music....

anyway...i'll talk with you later...to get all film on you...;))

Toni Marie said...

Oh, how lucky you are to see Sofia in person! And have such amazing photos to show for it. Awesome! Sofia certainly looks gorgeous...in black. Thanks so much for sharing. This post made my day!

Mandy said...

I really cannot wait for this film, your photographs are just divine ... my all time favorite couple !!!

PS ... Love your review !!!

thevoid99 said...

Brilliant review. I'm definitely anxious to see this. Even as I am a huge fan of Sofia's work. I hope you would check out my blog Surrender to the Void where I just did an essay on Sofia's work as part of LAMB project to celebrate directors.

Stacey said...

Your photographs are stunning! I adore Sofia and now after your great review, i can't wait to see this film! Bravo!

Dahlia said...

Gosh you are so lucky! Thanks so much for the detailed film review!

Anonymous said...

Does he show up in the lift?

P R I M O E Z A said...

really interesting review, makes me even more curious to see the film. and loved seeing your pics of sofia and thomas.

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Thanks everyone, I'm glad you liked it.

Anon - exactement - the nod to ScarJo!

Ingrid said...

OH MY GOD I LOVE HER. my heart beat a little faster when i read this entry... :)

sarah said...

your review helped me understand a bit better what i love about sofia coppola films.

it's showing the humanity beneath the extraordinary situations, beneath wealth, and fame, etc.
showing how lonely it can be, this other side that we might not always imagine.
even with the virgin suicides, which wasn't really about famous people, it was about girls, who, from the outside, from the point of view of the boys, appeared extraordinary...

so yes, thanks for this.

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Thank you ~ that is often what people don't "get" about her films.

Vanessa Moore said...

I love your review!! I love Sofia Coppola and I sooo can't wait to see the movie!! :-) <3