Sofia Coppola brings her latest drama on LA’s star-crazed,trash culture to the glitz of Cannes
Sofia Coppola was just 8 years old when she first came to the Cannes Film Festival. Her father,Francis Ford Coppola,was there to premiere a work-in-progress cut of a film he had spent years wrestling with:
I have nice memories of Cannes, Coppola said in an interview Thursday on the roof of the Palais,the festival centre. I remember coming here as a kid and then my first movie,Virgin Suicides,had our first screening ever here. I feel like my career started here.
Growing up in such surroundings,one would think,would have heavily informed Coppolas latest film,The Bling Ring,a deadpan drama about celebrity-obsessed teenagers in Los Angeles who break into the homes of Paris Hilton and other stars. But Coppola says the movie world she grew up in isnt the same as todays star-crazed culture.
I definitely noticed that people would act different around my dad. It was just part of my growing up, Coppola says. This world feels unfamiliar to me,this kind of reality-star,tabloid culture.
The Bling Ring,which opened Cannes Un Certain Regard section Thursday,is Coppolas third film in a row that deals heavily with the famous. Following her Marie Antoinette (her modern-styled take on the French royal) was 2010s Somewhere,a minimalist drama about a renowned actor and his 11-year-old daughter.
The Bling Ring is based on a true story,recounted in a Vanity Fair article,about high-schoolers who,after seeing online when certain stars are expected at a premiere or other event,take the opportunity to steal designer bags,shoes and clothes from their homes,lingering to pretend to live in celebrity opulence.
Theres wry irony in premiering such a film at Cannes,the decadent French Riviera resort town of high-end boutiques and luxury hotels.
It seems like the perfect setting for The Bling Ring when you see people walking around in their heels, says Coppola,who favours a less flashy style. Its a glamorous place,so it feels appropriate.
Coppola cast mainly newcomers in the lead roles (Israel Broussard,Katie Chang,Claire Julien),with the notable exception of Harry Potter star Emma Watson,who assumes a thick Valley Girl accent for her character. Watson praised Coppola for her easy calm; Chang noted her gentle openness with actors.
The Bling Ring has already drawn comparisons to the recent,day-glo debauchery of Harmony Korines Spring Breakers. The differences between the two films are many,but both feature the thrill of young,attractive girls breaking bad for the sake of glorious superficiality. (The movies also share a new distributor,A24 Films.)
Though Coppola hasnt seen Spring Breakers,she says,I can understand that theres this sort of trash culture aspect thats in the air.
And if theres an epicentre of that culture,it may be Paris Hiltons shoe closet. Coppola shot in Hiltons mansion where the teens rummage through her footwear and lounge in her nightclub room. (The hotel heiress appears fleetingly in the film.)
Like Somewhere,Bling Ring paints a light,hazy portrait of Los Angeles.
I wasnt trying to do a story about LA. I just came across this article,and you couldnt set it somewhere else, says Coppola,who lived in LA in her 20s but now resides in New York with her husband,Thomas Mars of the band Phoenix,and their two daughters.
Theres something exotic about it,and its not like anywhere else. To me,its the centre of this aspect our culture.