With the deaths of the five blonde Lisbon sisters, the 1998 adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel “The Virgin Suicides” from filmmaker Sofia Coppola told a tragic tale through gauzy, sunlit suburban scenes. Her characters in the movie, and her subsequent works including “Lost in Translation,” “Somewhere,” and the soon-to-be-released “Priscilla,” about Priscilla Presley’s relationship with Elvis, are marked by their sense of yearning; no matter the era or geography, her protagonists are adrift, searching for connection and meaning.
Now Coppola is releasing “Archive,” an anthology of rare behind-the-scenes images and ephemera collected during the making of her movies. Filled with sketches, letters, magazine clippings and diaristic polaroids of her muses, including Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, “Archive” fits neatly in Coppola’s nostalgic coming-of-age narratives and adds another romanticized dimension to her output.
Coppola’s groundbreaking deep dives into the psyches of young women have each taken their place in their zeitgeist, even when they haven’t been box-office hits. (“Marie Antoinette,” her exuberant take on the ill-fated teenage monarch, received mixed reviews in 2006 and offended the French, but its cult status has made a generation of period pieces far less stuffy.)
As she pointed out in a published interview in “Archive,” very few moviegoers saw “The Virgin Suicides” during its original US release, despite its popularity at Cannes. “The studio was nervous about a film about girls who are going to kill themselves. So it barely came out, and no one here saw it,” Coppola said. “Since then, a whole new generation of girls has discovered it, which makes me happy.”
As Coppola’s directorial debut turns 25, and the biodrama “Priscilla,” starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, premieres in Venice this month, the monumental tome is a time capsule of her career so far. In “Archive,” Coppola reflects on the threads woven through her films, including her latest, which is based on Presley’s 1980s autobiography, “Elvis and Me,” and focuses on how she navigated her teenage years after meeting the superstar.
Below, take a peek inside of “Archive,” which publishes this month by MACK, for a look at some previously-unseen insight into Coppola’s films.
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