Saturday, 15 October 2011


I have also been impressed with the work of the film Director Sofia Coppola and her fourth film Somewhere 2010 although will not be as lasting in the memory as her debut and award winning film Lost in Translation.

The film follows the life of a young world famous actor recovery from a break of his wrist and who lives in a well known apartment Hotel in Hollywood with individual verandas and a private pool together with meals delivered as specified if one does not want to use the individual kitchens. The Hotel has been used by a long list of internationally famous stars. The most striking aspect of the way his apartment is furnished is the absence of personal effects and which reflect the quality of his life as he flits from advancing sexual arms of one female to another, attends parties or hangs out with a male friend in between acting in films, attending media conferences and publicity promotions and award events around the world organised by the those financing and producing a film.

Divorced he does spend time with his 11 year old daughter who appears remarkably well adjusted and self confident but here the resemblance to Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby which I recently reviewed ends although the film makes clear she is acutely aware of her father’s life style and of finding different nubile young women temporarily sharing his bed and accommodation. Suddenly the ex wife announcing she cannot cope with being a mother and her lifestyle and needs to get away, dumping the daughter on him in a situation where he is scheduled to visit Italy for an award. The daughter accompanies, shares a double bed, attends ceremonies and enjoys the hilife provided her famous father. By the time she is due to go off to a summer camp and back to the everyday care of her mother the two have become closer with the daughter not wanting to leave and he finds a great emptiness when she does, giving up the apartment on impulse, driving off into the desert, stopping the car and walking aimlessly forward, presumably to oblivion.

The film has a slow visual style designed to communicate the emptiness of his life. It begins with the actor driving around and around and around a circuit in the desert as fast as he can, on his own and with no spectators. He has pole dancing twins perform in his bedroom but goes to sleep before their performance ends. They return on a second occasion and it appears he has sexual relations with one afterwards. The sisters wear skimpy outfits rather than the reality of what pole dancing is and where at least in the Sopranos the young women are at least topless and are known to have sex with their employers and customers.

This is the first time Coppola has examined the reality of f life, always of those in privileged circumstances, form the male viewpoint. I wondered if the film indicated something of the relationship which the Director had with her father and he is known to keep his family close and has used his children and other relatives in his films with Sofia appearing in all three Godfather films, as a baby in the first. She admits that the award ceremony reflects something of being taken to such an event as a child but otherwise she resists any suggestion the relationship and circumstances are autobiographical. What I believe she is trying to do is to demonstrate that being an international famous actor has its downsides something which of course we all know but does so visually communicating the feelings without the usual footage of sex, drugs, drink or violence and the excesses. Her central character is therefore useless, making no contribution to society other than through the films but he is also harmless and takes good care of his daughter when he has to. It was a good way to spend part of a tired evening without the film affecting my slumbers.

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