LIST: Top 6 films of Sofia Coppola, ranked

From being the third woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director in 2003 (Lost in Translation); the first American woman and third American filmmaker to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2010 (Somewhere); up to her most recent milestone, as the first American woman to win the coveted Prix de la mise en scène (Best Director) at the Cannes Film Festival (The Beguiled), Sofia Coppola has broken gender barriers and contemporary film making boundaries, giving the audience a taste of her uncanny brilliance in modern cinema.

Coppola’s distinguishable style of filmmaking has something to do with her visual play on pastel colors, soft natural lighting, a dreamy, moody narrative, and multi-layered characters that are often brought right in front of us in a very humane level. Characters like Charlotte (Lost in Translation) and Johnny Marco (Somewhere) have such understated subtle, human qualities, that they aren’t just movie characters — as if we are witnessing their lives in the eyes of Coppola herself. She sees something, and she makes us see it with utter specificity, down to the smallest breaths and fingertip movements of her characters.

Coppola often explores themes of alienation and isolation. She makes the inertia of her narrative through the confinement of these characters’ headspaces in their own worlds, as if trapped in their own cages. The storyline of her films are usually is motioned when these characters begin to drift into their own chimeric states, but so tranquil and smooth, as if smoothly brushed by a master painter.

We rank the films of Sofia Coppola. Make no mistake that all of her films are very symphonic to one another, it’s just an impossible task to pick which one’s the best, as all of them are equally superb in their own rights. But for self preferential purposes, the list goes as follows:

6. Somewhere (2010)

Somewhere explores the privileged life of celebrity Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff). Contrary to the ideal image of fame and fortune, the film discusses a life downhill from the stars. Coppola explores the immunity of a celebrity to all the pleasures the world gives, to the point where Marco feels absolutely nothing. It’s a subtle commentary as to how fame and fortune cannot give you the happiness one might think it could give. Marco’s daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) gives that beautiful contrast of reality where genuine joy exists. Coppola’s style of evoking this theme is through repetitive scenes, circular episodes and a series of eventful highs and lows. She captures the portrait of a celebrity status as a life where it’s both everything and nothing.

5. The Virgin Suicides (1999)

The Virgin Suicides serves as the breakthrough of Coppola into a nearly two-decade excellence in film making, as well as the beginning of her cinematic collaboration with long-time muse Kirsten Dunst, who stars as troubled teenager Lux Lisbon. This film has been highly controversial, and often discomforting to viewers due to its mature theme that involves teenagers. The beauty of this beginning is that we see a filmmaker who cares about one thing: the genuine emotions of the characters, and that includes the metaphysical mystery of one’s psyche towards depression, which ultimately leads to suicide. The greatest thing about Coppola’s exploration with ‘girlhood’ is that she didn’t try to preach or solve the film’s mystery. She didn’t try to explain grief, or rationalize the first-person intentions of suicide to the viewers. We are introduced to Coppola’s approach to mystery as an existential world where some covers are best left uninterrupted.

4. Marie Antoinette (2006)

Coppola has been very clear that Marie Antoinette has never been intended to be a political and historical drama, but simply a character profile of a woman forced to be the queen of France at the age of 16. That character profile includes, to a huge extent, the fact that Marie Antoinette is a teenager alienated in the adult world. Coppola focuses on that element, as she takes us in a realm right exactly in the eyes of Marie Antoinette. What does she see? What is she feeling? What does everything around her look like in her own eyes? That being said, Coppola played with an extravagance of colors, elaborate props, killer soundtrack in a very saucy, lavish, hard candy film making. The film has always been criticized for being overly-stylized but has no substance. But looking closely with Coppola’s approach towards the character’s profile, the film having no substance is actually the substance itself. The style, the color, the music, and costume — that’s the substance of a 16-year-old girl who knew nothing about maturity and adulthood.

3. The Beguiled (2017)

The magic of The Beguiled is due to Coppola’s ability to create tension utilizing the claustrophobic environment of the setting and women’s reserved sexuality in the civil war era. She explores the repression and alienation of these female characters so powerfully silent, that watching the film is like waiting for a kettle to scream and boil, flooding the environment as the characters, one by one, breaks free for air. That tension is as tight as a closed fist, but extremely, almost ridiculously subtle and quiet. It takes a director’s brilliance to create a potential energy that’s so meek and tranquil yet deliver something passionate and burning. This film is definitely a directorial showcase where Coppola’s eye for specificity and attention to the smallest details — from the lighting, to the characters’ eye movements, made such big difference towards the entire picture.

2. The Bling Ring (2013)

Perhaps the icon of every millennial wrapped in a film that tackles the lifestyle of the rich and famous, The Bling Ring is a flashy montage of the shallow, superficial lives of ambitious teenagers-turned-criminals. The Bling Ring flirts with the audience, from the firecracker party scenes involving drugs and alcohol, to designer bags and clothes, to the almost warming effect of the spotlight among these characters’ cold demeanor — all wrapped in a richly saturated art direction, impeccable cinematography and a loud soundtrack that accurately reflects the image Coppola tries to capture on these millennials. Very similar to Marie Antoinette, The Bling Ring is a film that heavily relies on the visual elements of the film. Coppola intricately made sure that we see what these teenagers see as the defense to their actions: a shiny, dazzling, euphoric world where downward spiral is the farthest consequence.

1. Lost in Translation (2003)

There’s no better film by Coppola that best epitomizes excellence in film making than Lost in Translation. The film is both an audio and a visual metaphor about quarter-life crisis (Charlotte, played by Scarlett Johannson) and midlife crisis (Bob, played by Bill Murray) — two Americans caged in the alienating space of Tokyo, where nobody seemed to truly understand them but each other. This is a film often coined as a movie where nothing is happening. Truly, Coppola relies on the stillness and the tension of the characters (very similar to her approach in The Beguiled), and the atmosphere of the environment, where they move in a space so swift that it’s almost null and void of emotions. The neon colors of Tokyo highly contrasts the mundane loneliness these characters feel; the energy of the landmarks such as the famous Shibuya crossing scene denotes the immobility of these characters as to where to go in life in a back drop of a fast-paced, crazy world. Lost in Translation is an oxymoron of a love story that doesn’t necessarily facilitate romance, but embrace companionship, and the fact that Coppola has left the question whether it is romantic or companionate love is the beautiful enigma of the film. The last scene, where Bob whispers to Charlotte before they part ways — yet, what he whispered is left unrevealed to the audience, is one of the most beautiful mysteries to ever exist in cinematic history.

Nicole Kidman plays headmistress in sexually-charged ‘The Beguiled’

Nicole Kidman delivers a fierce performance as Miss Martha, the headmistress of an all-girls boarding school, in Sofia Coppola’s thriller The Beguiled (now showing exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas’ Greenbelt 1, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center, Centrio).

Adapted from the novel by Thomas Cullinan, The Beguiled is a sexually charged tale that unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier (Farrell). As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

Kidman comments, “I thought it was exciting to work with a group of women and then put Colin in the equation. I was so happy to support Sofia as a female director, and I always thought that she made such atmospheric movies in such a signature style. That was the main thing which drew me to working with her.”

As it happens, when director Sofia Coppola approached Colin Farrell with The Beguiled, he had only just completed production on another movie with Kidman. He quips, “Nicole and I are now each 50 percent of a small film repertory company. Nicole is a joy to work with. When she comes on the set, everyone gets a little bit better, from the actors to the electricians!”

“Everyone stands up straighter,” adds co-star Elle Fanning. “Especially when Nicole was being Miss Martha.”

For Coppola, Kidman is uniquely qualified to play Miss Martha as the former had reconceived the character. “I’ve loved Nicole’s performances – especially when she plays a little bit twisted, like in To Die For. I’ve always wanted to work with her, and when I was writing the screenplay I pictured her and that helped me. I knew she would bring a lot to Miss Martha, including humor and emotion. Nicole can play it so commanding that you know she’s in charge of the whole group.

“But I didn’t want the cliché of the scary headmistress,” adds Coppola. “At all ages in this movie, the women are Southern beauties – although Miss Martha’s moment as a Southern belle has passed, and the parties are over. What’s become real for her is protecting these girls; she’s had to be strong in difficult times.”

Kidman returns the compliment, “Sofia is so softly spoken and sweet and lovely to be around. Everyone has such respect for her. I was also fascinated by how Sofia put together the look of The Beguiled; she had such strong ideas for how it should look, including the costumes and sets – and she had to work within the parameters of the low budget.”

The Beguiled is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Beguiled (2017) [2 of 2]

A re-imagining of Don Siegel’s 1971 classic through the reversal of gender perspective, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled delivers a chilling retelling of the blistering collision of the sexes through the female persona in a period thriller that’s so reserved, so quiet, but so powerfully effective.

The Beguiled is set a couple of years into the Civil War. Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell), a wounded soldier, has lost his way in the woods of Virginia, and is later found by Amy (Oona Laurence). Through the compassionate spirit of a southern Christian, she brings him to their home to be nursed until he recovers. A series of beguiling circumstances are ahead of them.

The magic of The Beguiled is due to Coppola’s ability to create tension utilizing the claustrophobic environment of the setting and women’s reserved sexuality of that era. Watching the film is like waiting for a kettle to scream and boil, flooding the environment as the characters, one by one, breaks free for air. That tension is as tight as a closed fist, but extremely, almost ridiculously subtle and quiet. It takes a director’s brilliance to create a potential energy that’s so meek and tranquil yet deliver something passionate and burning.

That art direction engages a conversation with the characters’ emotions, speaking to the environment and the atmosphere that the film stirs. Note that this is pre-war era where everyone’s famished, and nothing is everything; dreams and hopes are gone and everyone will start to create a world of their own in the confinement of their homes for safety. The dim interiors of the houses, almost lightless at times with nothing but candle lights and small whispers of sunshine behind the curtains, represent that dark period of history where people cave in like mice and isolate themselves for survival. When the camera pans outdoors (Coppola loves sunset shots), it speaks to the endless hopes and opportunities that the isolated characters hope for. The contrast of their indoor alienation to the perfectly lit outdoor world reiterates that seclusion, giving rationale to the psychological state the female characters are in. These women stand by their windows, looking into the light in despair and hopelessness; some use binoculars to seek what’s outside of their homes. A particular scene where Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) asks Edwina (Kirsten Dunst), “what is it that you want?”, she then answers “to be taken far away from here.” Coppola manipulates the atmosphere of their environment to serve as the subconscious of the characters.

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It is also interesting to note how each female character represents a woman in a specific period of her life, which plays a vital part in creating the intentions of the characters. These intentions serve as the movement of the story, and how feminism is represented on different ages and different head spaces. Martha (Nicole Kidman) is the headmistress; the oldest — her character plays the rational one, who, at her age, has already acquired lifelong wisdom to resist what needs to be resisted, and to lead what needs to be led. Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) is a woman in her mid-30s — her character is the epitome of a woman’s phase of ambiguity and crisis, full of frustrations of not being able to fulfill her aspirations. This age is crucial, as it represents the phase of approaching 40, where everything feels like it needs to be in place, otherwise it’s the end of the world — exactly why Edwina has been the one who has always given the benefit of the doubt and has taken risks in the hopes of changing her life. Alicia (Elle Fanning) represents the age of curiosity — young adulthood, so to speak. She’s curious, rebellious, and has always been the little minx who is the Eve to the apple of Eden. The little girls — Jane, Amy, Emily and Marie — represent innocence. Innocence is the trait that gives access to easy manipulation; which is why, through Amy, John has reached the home of these women.

Conflict has been created when the disruption of masculine dominance was instilled in the narrative; John’s leg amputation, as done by Martha, represents emasculation. This particular part of the narrative is a commentary on how egotistical the sex could be, especially when it’s the opposite sex who has created that disruption. As John has said in this part of the film, “I don’t even feel like a man anymore”, hence his outbursts. Coppola’s narrative suggests how women’s intentions are oftentimes gets lost in translation, and men’s ego, by nature, are defined by their physical capability. The women’s intention was to save his life and stray him from further bleeding; John’s interpretation was him being controlled over. Men are, physiologically and generally speaking, stronger than women, and without that physical strength, men tend to be threatened. The film thematically incorporates emasculation as a form of feminism. It is yet again done by the end of the film, where the women took over the physical strength of John, to further negate his sexual dominance, not for egotistical purposes, but for survival.

Sofia Coppola has yet again delivered a contemporary piece that’s visually stunning; shot with absolute precision, as every frame is intended with a purpose; grandiose costume design of period pieces that elaborate both restraint and liberalism of women in that era; a cast ensemble who complements each other with utter specificity; and a direction that brings forth a brave gender reversal retelling of an already controversial subject. Coppola knows her purpose, and she sticks by that without screaming feminist movement — everything she did has been very silent and smooth, beguiling the audience for an experience profuse of intellect and clear intentions.


5 out of 5 stars


 

MOVIE REVIEW: The Beguiled (2017)

Sofia Coppola’s new thriller The Beguiled is one of the year’s finest—a biting slice of smart entertainment powered by a brilliant ensemble.

If you’re in the mood to be surprised, to a shocking extent that has you simultaneously squealing in laughter, and quivering in fear over an inexplicably unsettling presence, then The Beguiled is a film that you’d love to sit through. Unveiling its cinematic glory with a discomforting silence in just a short span of time, it gorgeously utilizes Coppola’s direction bred with an inherent brilliance reminiscent of his father’s iconic works, The Godfather Part I & II. She shrouds most of the film is the shadows, skillfully manipulating dim lighting to emphasize mood, which basks us, and its characters in the ambiance – creating alluring filmic composition that catches our attention just as it soothes our eyes and jars our senses with a bizarre energy. Sofia Coppola, who has directed numerous movies loved by critics, comes in to make a film unlike her other works in this atmospheric thriller. Welcoming us with Oona Laurence’s Amy meeting Colin Farrell’s John McBurney in the woods during the Civil War era, in those very minutes, a lingering sense of mystery immediately latches on to our very skin. Coppola’s ravishing filmmaking is completely apparent, as every frame gives off a discomforting vibe that tells of the setting’s nature which builds up to what it’ll become. Not long after that already haunting intro, it lines up a dominantly female cast which makes us feel as if we are staring at a portrait of women of elegance, class, and beauty.

That is until they start showing their true colors the moment Farrell’s male character reaches their doorstep. Soon enough, the film examines the vulnerabilities of their being, casting over a bit of a critical eye that pertains to their feminist personas without turning into an offensive take. Rather, it’s quite intellectual, as there’s so much to think about other than trying to analyze what’s already obvious while also being enthralled by it, for sass showers a chunk of Coppola’s screenplay, and from that, a bountiful of amazing performances are to watch out for as it gets thrown straight at your face with a bite. At the center of this feisty pack is Nicole Kidman’s Miss Farnsworth who, attracts with her subtly vicious demeanor that wins us over remarkably time after time. Right by her side is Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, whose bickering over a man only adds up to what Kidman has marvelously established. Along with Kidman, this female ensemble is strongly formed, putting in some of the most memorable performances of the year. What’s more is that, there are multiple scenes, most of which are the film’s highlights that remarkably stand out; quickly pushing themselves in to a spot or two in the list of 2017’s best movie moments. Truly, Coppola placed her bets on all the right actresses, seeing that all of them, from Kidman to Dunst, get their moments, with some even stealing the spotlight from the others (looking at you, Elle Fanning, who constantly won me over).

In witnessing all the events that unravel, one must put into mind that the film is set during the Civil War wherein men are seen as titans, and women as less of that. Prior to the arrival of Farrell’s McBurney character, they were prim and proper, but once they take him in, all of what they once were is stripped off of them, as they fall for this man’s allure. Building up themes of jealousy, envy, intrigue, desire, lust, temptation, and repression, The Beguiled sizzles, and cooks all of those to become one deliciously wicked feast of grade-A entertainment that you just couldn’t resist. You will want to anticipate what happens to these women, and how they will act in every situation that they’re pit against, and by god, the results are amusing as they could ever get. As the days go by, and the man’s stay at their abode is prolonged, they learn lessons that they, and us probably won’t forget – particularly ones that pertain to their beings as women. Eventually, after getting weakened by a man, they regain their strength after revolt becomes the consequence of lust. Sinister intent comes into the fold, and a smile that is memorable in its mischief-making becomes the last thing that leaves a mark – most specially with that final, chilling frame that fills in the brisk air. If there’s a phrase that would probably best describe this deceptively complex film is that, it’s a double-sided statement on what lies behind “feminism” – a term whose meaning is built throughout its course.


4 out of 5 stars


MOVIE REVIEW: The Beguiled (2017) [1 of 2]

Sofia Coppola’s new thriller The Beguiled is one of the year’s finest—a biting slice of smart entertainment powered by a brilliant ensemble.

If you’re in the mood to be surprised, to a shocking extent that has you simultaneously squealing in laughter, and quivering in fear over an inexplicably unsettling presence, then The Beguiled is a film that you’d love to sit through. Unveiling its cinematic glory with a discomforting silence in just a short span of time, it gorgeously utilizes Coppola’s direction bred with an inherent brilliance reminiscent of his father’s iconic works, The Godfather Part I & II. She shrouds most of the film is the shadows, skillfully manipulating dim lighting to emphasize mood, which basks us, and its characters in the ambiance – creating alluring filmic composition that catches our attention just as it soothes our eyes and jars our senses with a bizarre energy. Sofia Coppola, who has directed numerous movies loved by critics, comes in to make a film unlike her other works in this atmospheric thriller. Welcoming us with Oona Laurence’s Amy meeting Colin Farrell’s John McBurney in the woods during the Civil War era, in those very minutes, a lingering sense of mystery immediately latches on to our very skin. Coppola’s ravishing filmmaking is completely apparent, as every frame gives off a discomforting vibe that tells of the setting’s nature which builds up to what it’ll become. Not long after that already haunting intro, it lines up a dominantly female cast which makes us feel as if we are staring at a portrait of women of elegance, class, and beauty.

That is until they start showing their true colors the moment Farrell’s male character reaches their doorstep. Soon enough, the film examines the vulnerabilities of their being, casting over a bit of a critical eye that pertains to their feminist personas without turning into an offensive take. Rather, it’s quite intellectual, as there’s so much to think about other than trying to analyze what’s already obvious while also being enthralled by it, for sass showers a chunk of Coppola’s screenplay, and from that, a bountiful of amazing performances are to watch out for as it gets thrown straight at your face with a bite. At the center of this feisty pack is Nicole Kidman’s Miss Farnsworth who, attracts with her subtly vicious demeanor that wins us over remarkably time after time. Right by her side is Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, whose bickering over a man only adds up to what Kidman has marvelously established. Along with Kidman, this female ensemble is strongly formed, putting in some of the most memorable performances of the year. What’s more is that, there are multiple scenes, most of which are the film’s highlights that remarkably stand out; quickly pushing themselves in to a spot or two in the list of 2017’s best movie moments. Truly, Coppola placed her bets on all the right actresses, seeing that all of them, from Kidman to Dunst, get their moments, with some even stealing the spotlight from the others (looking at you, Elle Fanning, who constantly won me over).

In witnessing all the events that unravel, one must put into mind that the film is set during the Civil War wherein men are seen as titans, and women as less of that. Prior to the arrival of Farrell’s McBurney character, they were prim and proper, but once they take him in, all of what they once were is stripped off of them, as they fall for this man’s allure. Building up themes of jealousy, envy, intrigue, desire, lust, temptation, and repression, The Beguiled sizzles, and cooks all of those to become one deliciously wicked feast of grade-A entertainment that you just couldn’t resist. You will want to anticipate what happens to these women, and how they will act in every situation that they’re pit against, and by god, the results are amusing as they could ever get. As the days go by, and the man’s stay at their abode is prolonged, they learn lessons that they, and us probably won’t forget – particularly ones that pertain to their beings as women. Eventually, after getting weakened by a man, they regain their strength after revolt becomes the consequence of lust. Sinister intent comes into the fold, and a smile that is memorable in its mischief-making becomes the last thing that leaves a mark – most specially with that final, chilling frame that fills in the brisk air. If there’s a phrase that would probably best describe this deceptively complex film is that, it’s a double-sided statement on what lies behind “feminism” – a term whose meaning is built throughout its course.


4 out of 5 stars


Colin Farrell fuels women’s obsession in ‘The Beguiled’

Irish actor Colin Farrell disturbs the calm of an all-girls’ boarding school in Sofia Coppola’s critically acclaimed thriller The Beguiled which opens exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Greenbelt 1 & Trinoma) on September 6, 2017.

Adapted from the novel by Thomas Cullinan, The Beguiled is a sexually charged tale that unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier (Farrell). As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

The role of McBurney intrigued the actor with every emotional and/or physical twist and turn. Farrell says, “He’s somewhat narcissistic, yet he’s a good judge of people in that he reads what they need. He senses what they may find disdainful and stays away from that, going instead to their soft spot – whether it’s giving a kind word or being more reserved.”

While there is tension – both sexual and otherwise – throughout the story, Farrell gravitated to what he deems an “extraordinary” script because “it looks at how whatever innocence has been maintained in a time of war can be lost. It also explores how the more animalistic aspects of human behavior can be provoked – and pervade – even when you’re not on the front lines.

“The violence of the human heart is a timeless theme, no matter what period a story takes place in,” explains Farrell, who had long wanted to make a movie with Coppola. “I loved how contained the drama was, and there’s a bit of melodrama as well.”

“In the book, the soldier is Irish,” shares Coppola. “When I met with Colin and heard his natural Irish accent, I thought it would be great to keep that and make McBurney even more exotic for the women. And we make reference to how he is a mercenary who was paid to take another man’s place [as a Union soldier]. But I wanted him to charm, that it not be obvious that he’s bad news. From the women’s point of view, it’s, “I want to believe him.” With Colin, that comes across.

As it happens, when Coppola approached the actor for The Beguiled, he had only just completed production on another movie with Nicole Kidman. He quips, “Nicole and I are now each 50 percent of a small film repertory company. “Nicole is a joy to work with,” states Farrell. “When she comes on the set, everyone gets a little bit better, from the actors to the electricians!”

Farrell notes, “The interactions between the man and these women are all about social etiquette – until somebody steps out of their acceptable box. Then it’s no longer an emotionally curtailed environment. Having strong actresses in every role makes the whole story more meaningful, and the relationships that more complicated, bringing life to every scene.”

Farrell marvels, “I was surrounded by extraordinary talented actresses. Since for a lot of the story my character is lying down, I had the best seat in the house – watching them work!”

Colin Farrell won a Golden Globe Best Actor Award starring for writer/director Martin McDonagh in In Bruges, which was an Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay.

He was recently once again a Golden Globe nominee for his performance in a movie Oscar-nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster; and he also received European Film and British Independent Film Award nominations, among other accolades. Farrell has reteamed with Lanthimos for a new movie, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which also reunites him with Nicole Kidman.

The Beguiled is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Cannes filmfest winner ‘The Beguiled’ opens exclusively at Greenbelt 1, Trinoma

MANILA, August 30, 2017 – Last May, Sofia Coppola was crowned best director by the jury at the 70th International Cannes Film Festival for her atmospheric thriller, The Beguiled. It’s the first time in 56 years that a woman has taken the top honor.

Now, Manila audiences can finally watch Coppola’s critically acclaimed gem as The Beguiled opens exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Greenbelt 1 & Trinoma) on September 6, 2017.

Adapted from the novel by Thomas Cullinan, The Beguiled is a sexually charged tale that unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier (Colin Farrell). As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

Sofia Coppola is reunited with two of her favorite leading ladies, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, and directs for the first time Golden Globe Award winner Colin Farrell and Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman. These screen veterans are backed up by an ensemble of teenage actresses who are making their marks in the industry.

Laced with elements of a taut psychological thriller, the tale unfolds in 1864 – three years into the Civil War – and is tightly concentrated in and around a Southern girls’ boarding school in Virginia where a wounded Union soldier takes refuge.

Intrigued by the story of the 1971 film The Beguiled, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood, Coppola wanted to explore the theme of women isolated during the Civil War. In writing the screenplay adaptation, she went back to the book to tell the story from the female characters’ perspective for her film.

“So The Beguiled would be a reinterpretation,” she says, “the premise is loaded because power dynamics between men and women are universal. There’s always a mystery between men and women.”

The women’s wartime lives at the school are, as the story begins, heavily ritualized. Elle Fanning notes, “They get up, they work in the garden at a certain time. There’s prayer, playing music, French lessons, dinner and bedtime. Until, everything gets shaken up; they take in the wounded soldier, and selfishness sets in.”

Producer Anne Ross concludes, “It’s rare that you see a story about women during wartime, and about how they interact with each other; in The Beguiled, Sofia is exploring both their camaraderie and their isolation.”

The Beguiled is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Sexual tension, broken taboos in new thriller ‘The Beguiled’

Focus Features presents The Beguiled, an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola and starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.

Adapted from the novel by Thomas Cullinan, The Beguiled is a sexually charged tale that unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

Laced with elements of a taut psychological thriller, The Beguiled explores the theme of women isolated during the Civil War. In writing the screenplay adaptation, Sofia Coppola went back to the book to tell the story from the female characters’ perspective for her film.

While there is tension – both sexual and otherwise – throughout the story, Colin Farrell gravitated to what he deems an “extraordinary” script because “it looks at how whatever innocence has been maintained in a time of war can be lost. It also explores how the more animalistic aspects of human behavior can be provoked – and pervade – even when you’re not on the front lines.

“The violence of the human heart is a timeless theme, no matter what period a story takes place in.”

Kirsten Dunst remarks, “The story is Southern Gothic, with things bubbling under until they get to a boiling point and then an explosion happens. It’s not horror, but it feels like there is horror in it, with intensity and destruction – all made more compelling because this is happening among women.

“When Sofia told me about the idea a couple of years ago, my impression was that she was drawn to the subject matter of so many women together alone.”

Nicole Kidman comments, “I thought it was exciting to work with a group of women and then put Colin in the equation. I was so happy to support Sofia as a female director, and I always thought that she made such atmospheric movies in such a signature style. That was the main thing which drew me to working with her.”

Elle Fanning adds, “Besides working with Sofia again, this was a reason for me to be part of The Beguiled: the women hold the power in this story – even though it’s set during the Civil War.”

The women’s wartime lives at the school are, as the story begins, heavily ritualized. Fanning notes, “They get up, they work in the garden at a certain time. There’s prayer, playing music, French lessons, dinner and bedtime. Until, everything gets shaken up; they take in the wounded soldier, and selfishness sets in.”

Opening across the Philippines on July 26, 2017, The Beguiled is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Mysterious women on the verge in first poster of ‘The Beguiled’

The teaser poster for director Sofia Coppola’s new suspense thriller The Beguiled starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Dunst and Elle Fanning has just been launched by Universal Pictures, carrying the ominous tagline, “Innocent, Until Betrayed.”

Check out the one-sheet art below and watch The Beguiled in Philippine cinemas this July 2017.

The Beguiled is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, Marie-Antoinette). The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

An official competition entry to this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the film’s screenplay is adapted by Coppola from Thomas Cullinan’s original novel.

The Beguiled is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WATCH: Suspense thriller ‘The Beguiled’ bewilders with first trailer

Universal Pictures and Focus Features have premiered the first trailer for director Sofia Coppola’s new suspense thriller The Beguiled starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Dunst and Elle Fanning.

View the trailer below and watch The Beguiled in Philippine cinemas this July 2017.

The Beguiled is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, Marie-Antoinette). The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

An official competition entry to this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the film’s screenplay is adapted by Coppola from Thomas Cullinan’s original novel.

The Beguiled is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.