Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Isolation of Luxury

Sunday night Daniel and I went to see Marie Antoinette, Soffia Coppola's new film. I'd read online from several reviewers that they found it "boring" and "slow" and "not true to history", but after seeing it, I agree with Ebert's comment: "Every criticism I have read of this film would alter is fragile magic and reduce its romantic and tragic poignancy to the level of an instructional film." So, be warned: this is not a film chonicling the French Revolution.

This is a film about Marie's world, and it remains in her point of view, as childish and restless as that may be. So far, Coppola's films are centered on lonely, isolated women, but what struck me about this one is the role extravagance plays as a buffer. The decadent swirling scenes of fittings, deserts, parties, flowing champagne, etc. Are dizzying. And the modern music brings a confusing twist to this period-piece. It kept me from disassociating myself from this "other" world. Lost in Translation's and The Virgin Suicides isolation was in the midst of a collision of two worlds. But in this film, instead of living in the tension, Marie's world does not collide until her beheading; she has the luxury of being completely removed from society - so much so, she has no curiosity for things outside from Versailles except the opera and parties in Paris.

Daniel walked away a little annoyed (and yet, craving sweets) by the glut of sugar - both the literal and the pretty shots for filmmaker's eye candy. But I cannot dismiss this as "having fun with a camera and daddy's money" *unlike many reviewers. Why, this time, did Coppola decide to make a film about a woman who can live a life isolated from total reality without ever choosing it? A woman who was the most powerful in the land, but didn't know her options, eager to please whomever gave her time and attention? A king who does not understand what he's doing when he sends money to a foreign war?

Anyways, see the movie for yourself and tell me what you think of it. Although often her plots are murky at best, Coppola's films each strike a cord making them tellingly relevant.

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