?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry
Let them wear Converse
marie antoinette
cleolinda

So I loved Marie Antoinette. I'm not sure if it's actually a good movie, objectively speaking, because I am hugely biased in that I love the Antonia Fraser, and I developed a MA fascination after I saw the 1939 Norma Shearer movie my sophomore year in college. Granted, it was a bit whitewashed and sentimentalized; in that version, Fersen refuses to have an affair with MA and then tells her, "And when we will meet again, you will tell me, 'It was well done.'" (No, see, it wasn't done at all, because you won't--that is--so it isn't--) But then, it also makes MA look like a huge slut right before she meets Fersen, so I have no idea what that little flip-flop is about. Anyhoo, the finer points of the Coppola version's filmmaking may have been lost on me because I was so busy being thrilled that the book had come to life. There were some interesting anachronisms, I thought--I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but there's a pair of (blue?) Converse sneakers on the floor at one point when MA is trying on shoes. That one didn't really work for me--see, the New Wave music did, because MA herself ruffled a lot of feathers; it was a very old court, generationally speaking, and she breezes in and wants to wear simpler gowns and live more casually and perform in private plays and do all kinds of things that upset the status quo. The music fits that sensibility--on a certain level, it doesn't fit, the way that MA herself didn't fit in. On another level, the actual songs fit perfectly--"I Want Candy" when she's binge-spending, "Fools Rush In" after she falls for Fersen. The Converse shoes didn't work for me because I didn't see them functioning in the same way--they weren't in the scenes where she was pushing for more casual clothes, but rather in the scene where she was spending on fancier ones, and just seemed like a gimmicky afterthought. Or at least, I didn't see them in the casual-chic scenes, although I've seen a behind-the-scenes still where Kirsten Dunst is wearing pink Converses under her garden dress.

Something else that was interesting was the way Kirsten Dunst very plainly, flatly, had an American accent, and the way that she and her friends would chat like modern girls--for example, over the fabric samples, saying things like, "Ooo! That one-- Yeah, that one-- Wowwww..." I heard "yeah" so many times in this movie, but it worked for me. Much like the music, it was a contrast to Madame Etiquette's fussy aristocratic diction. It was precisely what so many of the courtiers found so offensive about Marie Antoinette: not only did she not fit in, she didn't want to. They didn't use the contrast consistently, unfortunately, but I was willing to buy it for the most part because I liked the general effect.

(That, and I love Rose Byrne, and she was fab. There's something about her breezing in and out of an opera box with "Well, it was very nice to meet you!"--you know, directed towards the Dauphine of France--that just cracks me up endlessly.)

I will say, in terms of just the filmmaking, there was one scene that I can remember offhand being impressed with: the one where the Comtesse de Sister-in-Law delivers her baby, and MA goes to cry in a corner. I kept trying to figure out where the hell she was, because she seemed to be in a closet the size of a shoebox, but without any shelves or hangers or anything--what the hell was it? And then the camera pulls back and you realize she's in a corner of a perfectly large, open room, and it was just that she felt boxed in. I loved that. I thought the last shot was kind of odd, in that it seemed like it needed something else after it, or it needed to come before "I'm saying goodbye." It just seemed abrupt in a way that didn't serve the tone of the movie, which seemed more elegiac than that. I don't know. Maybe it was the writing; after I pondered the movie as a whole I started to think that, while it was shot beautifully--as all of Sofia Coppola's movies have been--the story structure reminded me more of movies you'd see from the '70s (and/or in your film class, for that matter) where the director would set these vignettes out and then just... leave. (Antonioni is the extreme example here, IIRC.) As in, the movie would be over, and you'd be left to make something of it yourself. And given the filmmaking Coppola obviously grew up around, I can see how her own style might have turned out this way. Whereas I think I prefer a more structured story--not structured to death, mind you, but--well, to use the same historical period, think of a movie like Amadeus, with the Salieri frame story and that last scene ("I absolve you!"), which is almost inexplicably powerful. I think my problem is that I want to leave the movie with something substantial to think about, whether I noticed the structure at the time or not. But then, I'm a writer, so I'm naturally going to place more importance on strong storytelling, whereas your aspiring directors might value the imagery and to hell with your "rules" and your "structure."

(I once knew a guy, an art major, who pitched this random, angry outburst at me one day because--you know, I can't remember exactly why, but I think it may have been because we were experimenting with form in my poetry workshop, on the understanding that even good free verse has form even if you don't see it immediately, and I was really into the idea of playing with rhyme and meter in a modern kind of way--the whole class really got into it, actually--and he busts out with, "I don't even know why you LIKE Picasso!" But then, his sister also didn't "believe in" revising her work, as if revision were the Tooth Fairy, or some particularly outlandish sea creature. Perhaps the bloop?)

But I'm really no good judge of the whole thing as a piece of cinema, because I enjoyed the hell out of it regardless. I was practically quoting the parts that Coppola skipped--and I knew she wasn't going to try to do the whole book, so I was jazzed about what got included rather than pissed about what got cut. Also, the costumes were eye-candy heaven, and God knows that's what I was there for. (God, I want those earrings so bad.) (Wow, Manolo Blahnik did the shoes?) I think my contenders for favorite dress were a very plain blue stripe, just because it was so simple and lovely; the light striped dress with the hat; the floral letter dress; the red dress Rose Byrne wears with the roses at MA's birthday party; and the blue dress with the red belt, just because it was awesome. I swear, I usually like the big dresses with the giant hoops and panniers, but for some reason I preferred the simpler ones this time.

Meanwhile, I'm looking for covers of "Fools Rush In," which I fell for completely. The version on the soundtrack is Bow Wow Wow (sorry, all I have is mp4), but it sounds so '50s-'60s that I figured the song itself had to be a cover. So I go look it up, and it was written, sure enough, by Johnny Mercer. Apparently Sinatra popularized it, although Doris Day also did a version. I did a little digging and found what I think is an earlier Bow Wow Wow version; the one on the MA soundtrack is a Kevin Shields remix, and it's lovely--the background instrumental has this dreamy, swirling quality, even as the song itself is more uptempo than the other versions I've found so far. Problem: The lead singer--Annabella Lwin?--is a bit... shrill. Not high-pitched, just... she's not hitting the correct notes or the tones or the right key or something in the chorus ("Then I don't caaAAAaarRRRE!"). They're not even particularly high notes--or maybe they should be, and she knows she can't hit them, so she's not trying. All I know is, she gets louder instead of higher, and it kind of hurts, which I hate because the remix itself is lovely, and it's used to great effect in the movie itself. I'll just put it this way: if I can hit the notes better than you can, you have a problem.

(Wow, she was fifteen at the time? Well, maybe that explains it. Oh, Annabella Lwin, if only you would rerecord the vocals now.)

So far I've found a Julie London cover, which, like "Cry Me a River," is very slow and wistful and meditative, and... not really what I'm looking for; two Bow Wow Wow versions, as previously mentioned; a UB40-labeled "Fools Rush In" that instead turned out to be that cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love" they did for Sliver (hi, just because uses one similar line doesn't mean it's the same song); and the Sinatra version. Really, I just want Bow Wow Wow Girl to be less American Idol about the whole thing, and it would be perfect.

Linkspam:

4 dead in argument over Oklahoma fence. My first thought was that they must be fencing something, like diamonds, and the title was just awkwardly worded. Not that they were actually arguing over a wooden fence.

Colossal hurricane-like storm seen on Saturn.

Libraries in the sand reveal Africa's academic past.

Lohan calls Hilton a four-letter word; media runs out of news to report.

Viva la revolución!

Pynchon fans eager to feast on new novel.

maetang: Perfume author Patrick Süskind discusses "the link between Eros and Thanatos" for The Guardian.

Sofia Coppola to adapt Tipping the Velvet: "Beyoncé Knowles and Eva Longoria are teaming up on screen to play lesbian lovers. The pop star and actress have been approached to star in period piece Tipping The Velvet, to be directed by Sofia Coppola. Based on a raunchy Sarah Waters novel it tells the tale of an 1890s music hall star and her lover." Which was already adapted into a fine BBC production, I might add. Something about the whole project seems so... off... that I don't quite believe it. ETA: I'm hearing rumblings that not only is it false, but Coppola is also really, really pissed. More on that in the next linkspam.

New stills from The Painted Veil with Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, and Edward Norton's severely unflattering hair.

Stephen Fry Nominated as Greatest Living British Cultural Icon.

Salon: Which parts of Borat were real and which were set up.

akathorne: Literally, A Web Log, policing abuses of the word "literally."

Kylie back on stage after breast-cancer battle.

Prince opens Las Vegas club gig. Apparently he just had the club "slap on a coat of purple paint" and called it a day, so it's a fairly low-key, intimate performance instead of, you know, showgirls in assless pants or whatever.


Site Meter



Yay, Stephen Fry!

In the last picture of Edward Norton, he reminds me of Russel Crowe in A Good Year.

But apart from that one, his hair makes him look like Ryan Gosling. A bald and older Ryan Gosling. No?

I largely agree with everything you have to say about Marie Antoinette. I think visually and as a long vignette-type piece, it works very well. Everything from costume to location to the shooting itself is absolutely brilliant. Each scene feels like a piece of art, and I would have been happy to see it for that alone. The music also worked well for the same reasons you discussed. To me, the entire film felt like a very long (and therefore detailed) character study, primarily of Marie Antoinette, but also of her husband and perhaps of the monarchy itself. It was like a lengthy vignette: heavy on character and life story but therefore lacking in plot.

As a film in a while, the lack of plot (specifically a conclusion) bothered me. The end point (before the actual end of of Marie Antoinette herself) bothered me a lot. Not because it disrupted the film as it had been going on, but because it ended the film I had expected to see far ahead of time (if that makes sense). When I think Marie Antoinette, I think of her life from crowning to death, not from crowing to ... running away from Versailles. And so the gaping hole in both information and in plot that came at the end left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. I wanted an ending.

Would her death have totally changed the film? Absolutely. It would have been hard to do given the atmosphere and beauty of the shooting—impossible, really. It would have moved away from personal rises and falls to something much more public. I can see why it ended there, but I still feel weird about the fact that it did.

As far as endings go, the very last scene (of the bedroom) was very moving. It wasn't enough, but as the best we were going to get ... it was well shot.

I think a movie could have been made that ended at that point and made sense, but the way this one was paced, it seemed just kind of lose interest and wander away. I wanted there to be some kind of thematic reason for the movie to end there--really, that was the last moment of happiness they had, the last time she saw a place where she was happy. Maybe if they'd started the movie off with a scene from the Revolution, we would have had a sense within the movie of what was waiting in the future, and so them leaving Versailles could have been a beautiful note to end on, and yet sad and tragic because we had already seen what was waiting for them. This is what I mean by story structure, I guess.

ok, now I'm really intrigued and want to go see it. But I think I'll go see it by myself, because it sounds like the sorta movie that some (like you and probably me) will like various parts and peices for whatever reason (costumes, controversial music choices), and others would spend the rest of the ride home griping about what they didn't like.

Yeah, my cousin saw it the night before I did and absolutely hated it. Part of her problem was that she didn't realize it was going to be so quiet in places--if you've seen either of Coppola's other movies you'll know what I'm talking about. I think she expected it to be more like A Knight's Tale with the constant anachronistic music, and that, it's not.

don't know if you've seen this: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/07/us/07pedophile.html?_r=1&bl&ex=1163221200&en=ce20daa38bb10c64&ei=5087%0A&oref=slogin (NY Times, might have to log in), but one of the targets of Dateline's "To Catch a Predator" series killed himself rather than getting taken by police. A bit more serious than that usual linkspam, but more important than Lohan could ever hope to be.

ugh, esp. when the article about lohan has a TYPO IN IT. Keeeeee-ryest, what the hell is up with the AP leaving letters off the end of words?

"Lohan, probably more famous for her tabloid-churning antics than for her movie roles, will next be seen in the drama, "Bobby," slated to be release Nov. 17." Are they taking grammar lessons from Borat?

I'm actually really, really thrilled that you liked MA, I don't know why! Some of your comments make an enormous amount of sense now that I've seen the film, and almost make me want to go again. I did think the Converse sneakers were a rather humorous aftertouch, as blatant an anachronism as it was, I thought it was more funny than just bizarre and out of place.

I don't know if you've seen Lost in Translation or The Virgin Suicides (though, judging from your entry, I suppose that's maybe an educated guess?), but I think one of the main things I both liked and disliked about MA was that it was in a lighter, fluffier vein than LIT was, and we were all expecting some profound commentary on life complete with exquisite cinematography, and we got (admittedly awesome) '80s rock music instead. It wasn't bad, it was just different. Ultimately, I think it's just rather thrilling that Kirsten Dunst is apparently more versatile than we tend to give her credit for.

(The opening credits were kickass, and "Fools Rush In" totally killed my ears ded.)

See, I think I gathered from the trailers that it was going to be a lighter, more mischievous movie--which, quite frankly, was sort of a relief to me, because I felt like Coppola was verging on pretension a few times in the previous two movies (which, yeah, I saw. I liked VS and didn't dislike LIT, but felt that it was kind of overrated). And yeah, I still enjoyed the Converse sneakers--I thought they were funny; I just wouldn't be able to defend them to someone who didn't see the point of the anachronisms in general, if that makes any sense. I pretty much knew that I was going to love the movie no matter what happened, because I love love love the book and Antonia Fraser herself said she enjoyed the movie, and I had already pored over tons of pictures of the costumes. All it had to be was two hours of pretty and I would have been perfectly happy. I pretty much knew what I was in for, although the trailers really did make the movie look a lot bouncier than it actually was.

The scene with the Converse sneakers really bothered me. I was completely jarred out of that place your mind goes to when watching movies — the spell was broken and I was sitting in a theatre thinking “WTF was that?.”

I hated the ending or complete lack of, I guess you'd say. People in the theatre with me booed. How on earth could they end, mid-paragraph like that?

Otherwise I found the movie very beautiful. Beautiful but ultimately totally forgettable.

Props to Kirsten Dunst though, who I just normally loathe. I thought she did a great job in this one. And her accent and common vernacular didn't really bother me. It's not like they'd be speaking English period, so wanting her to speak English with a 17th century French accent or something… I don't see that it really matters.

Yeah, the accent is one of those things that's only a problem if everyone else consistently has/does whatever accent and the lead actor/actress just can't pull it off. Since they clearly didn't have anyone trying to do a particular accent (although isn't Rose Byrne Australian? I can't remember, but she may have been poshing it up a little bit), no one was out of place because everyone was out of place, so to speak.

Beautiful but ultimately totally forgettable.

That's the thing--I honestly do not remember a lot about what actually happened in the movie. I remember the costumes, and the specific scenes they were in. This why I keep harping on story structure, I think--if it had a cohesive storyline or some sort, you'd remember more.

I only read a couple of chapters of Tipping the Velvet, but Beyonce and Eva Longoria are really kind of far off from my mental image of the characters.

Stephen Fry is made of win. He should totally win that nom.



Marie Antoinette bored the shit outta me.
But I could appreciate some parts of it.

Why do we only get news from Oklahoma when people get killed over stupid things or someone goes a little crazy and kills lots of people?

Wait, was that in our workshop? I totally don't remember that.

Nah, I was a sophomore at the time.

wait, what "art major" pitched that fit at you? I'm racking my brain but i got nothing...

I don't want to name names in case, by some act of God, he or his sister come across this... hmm. Do you get comment notifications?

aah! yes! I remember HER but not HIM.

nice.

I was thinking you were talking about beau but he wasnt an art major.

Heh. Yeah, not him. This one was less spastic and more pretentious.

I've uploaded a cover of Fools Rush In by soul singer Brook Benton.

Brook Benton - Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread) (taken from this album)

(Deleted comment)
It does seem rather off. I remember reading an article about Beyonce some years ago, after the Madonna/Britney/Christina kiss on MTV, where she's saying that God would not let her kiss a woman, or something like that. o_O

oh dear... I went and clicked on the costume link you gave me... I think I've found a new toy/addiction. I wish I'd had this site when I was in my costume design classes - sometimes we did projects where we had to research famous costume designers and their styles.

I practically live on that site, and I neither wear nor sew costumes. I just like to look.